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Statement by Ambassador Li Baodong at the Security Council Ministerial Meeting on the Middle East



(Photo by Shen Hong, Xinhua News Agency)



Mr. President,

China welcomes Foreign Secretary William Hague of the United Kingdom presiding over today's Security Council meeting. I also thank Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his statement.

The situation in the Middle East is undergoing some unprecedented changes, as evidenced by the turbulences in some countries, which has naturally attracted extensive attention in the world. The developments in the Middle East have important implications for the global political and economic affairs. Without stability and development in the region, the world economy will find it hard to recover and world peace will be put under great risks. With the consequences of the international economic and financial crisis getting more and more obvious, just like the people in many other places in the world, people in the Middle East and North Africa also seek reform and protection of their own interests. Many factors have contributed to the current turbulences and changes in the Middle East and North Africa. We need to have in-depth and rational reflections on how to properly handle these changes. A comprehensive and integrated approach is needed to guarantee peace and stability in this region, and to make sure that the aspirations of the people there are better realized in an orderly manner. In this connection, I would like to focus on the following four points:

First, we should respect the desire and aspirations of the people in the countries of the region for reform and development, as well as the rights of the countries and people there to independently deal with their internal affairs and choose their political system and path of development. The Middle East affairs should mainly be resolved by the people in the Middle East, and the prospects and destiny of the region should be in the hands of its own people.

Second, we hope that the relevant parties in the countries of the region express their political will through legal and non-violent means, bridge their differences through dialogue, consultation and other peaceful means, and reach a proper solution through the launch of an inclusive political process. We call on all the parties concerned to refrain from violence and armed conflicts, and quickly restore national stability and normal social order.

Third, we must strictly observe the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the basic norms governing international relations, and respect the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the countries in the region. The international community can provide necessary and constructive assistance to the relevant country in its efforts to resolve its domestic crisis through political means. China opposes armed external intervention or pushing for "regime change". Use or threat of sanctions will not be helpful to the proper settlement of the issue.

Fourth, Security Council resolutions must be fully and strictly implemented. No parties should willfully interpret the resolutions, let alone taking actions beyond the mandate of the Security Council. Protection of civilians must be achieved by complying with the international humanitarian law and other relevant international laws, with no political motives or purposes involved. China opposes intervention of a country's internal affairs under the pretext of "humanitarianism".

Mr. President,

China has always firmly supported the just cause of the Arab people, and the just and reasonable aspirations of the Palestinian people for restoration of their legitimate national rights. China supports the establishment of a Palestinian state that enjoys full sovereignty and independence, on the basis of the 1967 border, and with East Jerusalem as its capital, as well as the ultimate achievement of the two states, Palestine and Israel, living side by side in peace.

The Middle East peace process is now bogged down in a stalemate.The situation in the Gaza Strip got tense again last week. China is deeply concerned over the situation. The stalemate or even regression of the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks will only lead to more turbulences and conflicts. The more complicated and severe the situation we are facing, the more important it is for the international community to redouble its diplomatic efforts, and strive for an early resumption of the peace talks. China appreciates the efforts made by the Quartet mechanism for the Middle East issue, and supports the Security Council in playing a bigger role in promoting the Middle East peace process.

Mr. President,

Not long ago, China put forward a six-point proposition on the political settlement of the Syrian issue. We call on the Syrian government and all the parties concerned to immediately cease all acts of violence, launch an inclusive political dialogue, agree on a comprehensive and detailed road-map and timetable for reform through consultation, and implement them as soon as possible. The relevant parties of the international community should respect the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, and create conditions for the various political factions in Syria to launch dialogue. The Syrian crisis is very complicated. Political good offices efforts cannot yield results overnight, but we must continue to make unremitting efforts. To this end, China has on many occasions sent special envoys to engage with the parties in Syria to promote political dialogue. China supports the UN-Arab League Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan in playing a constructive role in bringing about a political solution of the Syrian crisis. China also supports the vigorous efforts made by the Arab countries and the Arab League to promote political settlement of the Syrian crisis. We attach importance to and welcome the recent visit to Syria by Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan and call on the international community to support and create favorable conditions for Mr. Annan's good offices efforts.

China has no selfish interests in the Syrian issue. We do not shield anyone, or intentionally oppose anyone. China strictly complies with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and respects the sovereignty of Syria and the choice of its people. No external forces should interfere in Syria by force, or push for "regime change". China supports the United Nations in playing a leading role, coordinating the humanitarian relief efforts, and helping to improve the humanitarian situation in some areas in Syria. China will provide 2 million US dollars in emergency humanitarian aid to the Syrian people through the International Committee of the Red Cross. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China will faithfully fulfill its obligations, and engage in equal-footed, patient and full consultations with other parties to push for an early political solution of the Syrian crisis.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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