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Statement by Ambassador Li Baodong at the Security Council Open Debate on the Middle East


Mr. President,

I would like to thank Under-Secretary-General Feltman for his briefing. I have also listened carefully to the statements made by the observer of Palestine and the representative of Israel.

The core and root causes of the Middle East questions remain the Palestinian issue, to which dialogue and negotiation represent the only viable solution. China is concerned about the long-term stagnation of the peace talks. Recently, the international community has stepped up efforts to promote peace, and both parties have expressed their willingness to resume peace talks. China welcomes those developments and hopes that both sides will seize opportunities, overcome obstacles, bridge their differences, take measures to build mutual trust and restart negotiations as soon as possible.

China is open to all initiatives conducive to bridging the differences between the two parties and restarting dialogue and negotiations. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the signing of the Oslo accords, and we hope that it will not be another futile year for the peace talks between Palestine and Israel.

Israeli settlement activities are the direct cause of the stagnation of the peace talks and the major obstacle to their resumption. Israel should take the initiative by ending its settlement activities in the occupied territories and addressing the issue of Palestinian detainees in order to create the necessary conditions for the restoration of mutual trust and an early resumption of the peace talks.

Currently, the security and humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, including the Gaza Strip, remains grave. The relevant United Nations resolutions must be effectively implemented, and we hope that Israel will lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip as soon as possible and alleviate the humanitarian situation there.

We call on the Quartet to take concrete measures to promote the resumption of talks between Palestine and Israel, while the Security Council also needs to play a bigger role in promoting a settlement of the issue.

China continues to believe that Palestine and Israel should settle their disputes through political dialogue, on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions, the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Middle East road map. The ultimate goal is to establish a sovereign and independent Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on the basis of the 1967 borders and living side by side with Israel in peace.

China firmly supports the just cause of the Palestinians for the restoration of their legitimate national rights, and has been promoting the peace talks through its own means. The Chinese special envoy on the Middle East issue, Mr. Wu Sike, will visit Palestine and Israel from 25 to 30 April to exchange views with both sides on the latest developments in the peace process in the Middle East and to carry out peace facilitation work. China stands ready to work with the international community to play a constructive role for the early realization of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

A political solution is the only viable way to resolve the Syrian issue. Currently, the Syrian issue is at a critical stage. We urge the parties concerned in Syria, on the basis of the Geneva communiqué of the Action Group for Syria, to achieve a ceasefire and end hostilities as soon as possible, launch a political dialogue and implement a Syrian-led political transition process. The international community should also step up mediation efforts in order to play a positive and constructive role in the just, peaceful and proper settlement of the Syrian issue.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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