|Statement by Ambassador Li Baodong at the Security Council Open Debate on the Situation in the Middle East|
I would like to thank Mr. Robert Serry, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority, for his briefing. I also welcome Mr. Malki, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Palestine, to today's meeting. I have listened carefully to the statements made by Foreign Minister Malki and the Permanent Representative of Israel.
The question of Palestine has always been at the centre of the Middle East issue. Dialogue and negotiation remain the ultimate solution to the settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. However, Israeli-Palestinian talks have been stalled since 2010. China is gravely concerned about that situation. The continued deadlock in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks is in the interest of neither side and will not lead to lasting peace in the Middle East. It also contravenes the common aspiration of the international community. The status quo is untenable. The Middle East peace process must be restarted as soon as possible, in order to achieve the vision of the two-State solution.
China welcomes any and all initiatives aimed at restarting the Israeli-Palestinian talks. We hope that the two sides will advance in parallel by adopting practical measures to foster a favourable environment aimed at resuming the talks and making progress at an early date.
China has consistently rejected Israel's settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem and the West Bank. We are also seriously concerned about Israel's suspension of tax revenue transfers to Palestine. Nevertheless, the problem of settlement activities remains the main obstacle to the resumption of the peace talks. Israel, as the more powerful party to the conf lict, should take the initiative to cease its settlement activities in occupied Palestinian territories, release detainees and ease the humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, including the Gaza Strip, in order to eliminate the obstacles and create conditions favourable to the restart of the peace talks.
The international community should base its actions on the ultimate goal of achieving peace and stability in the Middle East, address the question of Israel and Palestine with greater urgency and promote the peace talks more vigorously. China appeals to the Quartet to take substantive action with a view to restarting the peace talks. China also urges all of the parties concerned to demonstrate the necessary political will. In that context, China supports the efforts of the League of Arab States and favours a greater role for the Security Council in settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
It is China's continued view that all of the parties concerned should settle their disputes through political dialogue based on the relevant United Nations resolutions, the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the road map for peace in the Middle East, so that Israel and Palestine can eventually live side by side in peace as two States.
China supports the establishment of a sovereign, independent State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, based on the pre-1967 borders. Achieving independent statehood is the legitimate right of the Palestinian people and constitutes the foundation and principles of the peaceful coexistence of Palestine and Israel as two States. The granting of observer State status to Palestine by the General Assembly represented one more step towards the establishment of an independent Palestinian State.
China has always promoted the peace talks in its own way, and has made efforts to advance the Middle East peace process. China would like to work with the parties concerned, together with the international community, and to continue to play a constructive role in achieving comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East region.
China is gravely concerned about the continuing tension in Syria. A political settlement is the only feasible solution to the Syrian issue and reflects the common understanding of the international community as a whole. The current urgent task requires intensifying political mediation efforts and urging all Syrian parties to cease fire and halt the violence with a view to launching a Syrian-led political process as soon as possible. China applauds all efforts aimed at promoting a political solution.
China supports the just and fair mediation efforts of the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States on the Syrian crisis, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi. We sincerely hope that all of the parties concerned will strive to find a just, peaceful and appropriate solution to the question of Syria based on the final communiqué of the Geneva meeting of the Action Group on Syria (S/2012/522, annex) and the relevant Security Council resolutions.
Thank you, Mr. President.