|Statement by Ambassador LIU Jieyi at the Security Council Debate on Syria|
(Photo by Li Muzi, Xinhua News Agency)
I would like to thank Under-Secretary-General Feltman and Under-Secretary-General O’Brien for their briefings. The recent escalation of the conflict in some parts of Syria, especially Aleppo, has resulted in large numbers of casualties among civilians and medical and humanitarian relief workers. China sympathizes deeply with the Syrian people in their suffering. We condemn all attacks on civilian and humanitarian facilities.
The Syrian conflict cannot be settled by military means, which will result only in greater unrest and disaster. In that regard, China appreciates the new round of efforts made by the Russian Federation and the United States. The top priority now is for the parties in Syria to put the interests of their nation and people above everything else, cherish their hardwon ceasefire, abide strictly by the relevant Security Council resolutions, implement the agreement on the cessation of hostilities effectively and end all attacks on civilian and humanitarian facilities immediately in order to regain the earlier momentum of the ceasefire. The implementation of the agreement on the cessation of hostilities has played an important role in expanding the humanitarian relief operations and advancing the Intra-Syrian talks.
In spite of the recent escalation of tensions in some areas of Syria, in most parts of the country the ceasefire has by and large been maintained. The international community and the parties concerned should adopt effective measures as soon as possible to consolidate the results that have been achieved so far. Other countries in the region should act in the interests of maintaining regional peace and stability generally and play a constructive role in achieving a full ceasefire and a halt to the violence in Syria. The members of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) should work together and consult as soon as possible on specific measures for controlling the situation, thereby creating conditions conducive to advancing the political process in Syria and expanding humanitarian relief operations.
The Intra-Syrian talks have recently managed to make progress despite difficulties and setbacks, with the parties to the talks reaching a preliminary understanding on some aspects. China appreciates the important role that has been played in that regard by Mr. Staffan de Mistura, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria. The more complex the situation in Syria, the more essential it is to pursue a political settlement without wavering, to insist on enabling the Syrian people themselves to decide their country’s future and destiny and on the role of the United Nations as the main conduit for good offices, to firmly support the work of Special Envoy de Mistura and ensure that the next round of the Intra-Syrian talks in Geneva is resumed as soon as possible. The parties in Syria should work on the principle of addressing the easier issues first and moving to more difficult ones, meeting each other halfway, establishing mutual trust and gradually arriving at a solution acceptable to all.
Countering terrorism is an important component of the efforts to address the Syrian issue. If terrorism is not eradicated, the Syrian people will have no peace and the countries of the region will have no security. International cooperation in fighting terrorism must adhere to uniform standards and make full use of the leading and coordinating role of the United Nations and its Security Council. We should do all we can to fight all those identified as terrorists by the Council. Recently, terrorist groups have frequently used chemicals as weapons, and the international community must come up with effective ways to respond to that issue as soon as possible.
As a permanent member of the Security Council and a member of the ISSG, China has been working tirelessly to achieve a political settlement of the Syrian issue. At a meeting of ISSG foreign ministers, Mr. Wang Yi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of China, laid out China’s four-point proposal for a settlement and put forward a specific programme for advancing the ceasefire and cessation of hostilities, expediting progress on humanitarian relief work and advancing the political process. The special envoy for Syria of the Chinese Government recently visited Geneva, Syria and other countries concerned to engage in an in-depth exchange of views with the parties involved on the maintenance of the cessation of hostilities, the expansion of humanitarian relief and the advancement of the Geneva peace talks. We will continue to play an active and constructive role in advancing a comprehensive, equitable and appropriate settlement of the Syrian issue.