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Statement by Ambassador Liu Jieyi at the Security Council Open Debate on the Situation in the Middle East


Mr. President,

China welcomes the presence of Mr. Nasser Judeh, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Jordan, to preside over today’s open debate. I thank Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his briefing. China also listened carefully to the statements made by the representatives of Israel and Palestine.

The question of Palestine has always been a core issue of the situation in the Middle East. It has remained unresolved for a long time, which has not only brought severe suffering to the Palestinian people but also made it impossible to achieve peace between Palestine and Israel, much less peace and stability in the Middle East. Establishing an independent State of Palestine and the peaceful coexistence of Palestine and Israel are the only way forward and also an important guarantee for achieving long-term peace and stability in the Middle East.

China has always maintained that the parties concerned should adhere to 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, and, on this basis and through political negotiations, establish an independent State of Palestine, with full sovereignty based on the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital.

China supports the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, which are at a critical juncture. If they do not forge ahead, they will suffer a setback. Palestine and Israel should recognize each other’s right to exist and accommodate the other’s reasonable concerns. This is indispensable for the progress of any negotiations. We sincerely hope that Palestine and Israel will seize this opportunity, seek common ground and demonstrate good will so as to promptly find a definitive solution and promote early substantive progress in the peace talks.

China is opposed to Israeli settlement activities in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and other occupied Palestinian territories. In the current circumstances, an end to settlement activities and violence against innocent civilians, as well as the full lifting of the blockade against the Gaza Strip, are of critical importance to maintaining an environment conducive to the peace talks.

The General Assembly has designated 2014 the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. With the ongoing turbulence in the Middle East, the international community should proceed on the basis of the overall goal of maintaining peace and stability in the Middle East, strengthen the sense of urgency in seeking a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli question, and enhance efforts to encourage the relevant parties to achieve peace through talks. China hopes that the Quartet will take concrete measures in that regard. We support the Security Council in playing a greater role in finding a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli question.

China has always attached great importance to the question of the Middle East and is committed to promoting the peace process. In May 2013, for the first time ever, China received simultaneous visits from Palestinian and Israeli leaders. President Xi Jinping put forward a four-point proposal for a solution to the Palestinian question, fully demonstrating the Chinese Government’s sincerity and positive attitude in promoting peace in the Middle East. In December 2013, Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi visited Palestine and Israel and further encouraged both parties to achieve peace through talks. China will continue to follow the four-point proposal put forward by President Xi Jinping, work hard to promote peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis, and play a greater role so as to make it due contribution to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

China has closely followed the situation in Syria. Developments over the past three years have fully demonstrated that military means will not settle the question of Syria. Political settlement through dialogue and negotiation is the only correct choice and is also the object of international consensus. It is also, more importantly, the direction that all the parties must follow in the future.

We welcome and support the second Geneva Conference on Syria, to be held on 22 January in Switzerland. Yesterday, Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi put forward a five-point proposal for a political solution to the question of Syria. First, the Syrian issue must be resolved through political means. Secondly, the future of Syria must be decided by its own people. Thirdly, an inclusive political transition process must be promoted. Fourthly, national reconciliation and unity must be achieved in Syria. Fifthly, humanitarian assistance must be delivered in Syria and its neighbouring countries.

The second Geneva Conference on Syria will mark the beginning of dialogue and negotiations, which should be an ongoing process. We hope that all the parties in Syria will work with the future of the nation and the overall interests of the entire Syrian people in mind, demonstrate political will, seize the opportunity, come to the negotiating table and seek common ground so as to find a solution that meets national needs and takes into consideration the interests of all of the parties.

The international community should firmly uphold the Charter of the United Nations and the basic norms guiding international relations; commit itself to maintaining the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria; respect the will and choice of the Syrian people; adopt a just, balanced and impartial attitude; play a constructive role in promoting peace talks; create favourable conditions for the political transition; and support the efforts of the Secretary-General and Mr. Brahimi, Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for Syria, so as to maintain and fully leverage the United Nations leading role in good offices and mediation.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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