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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Zhang Yesui, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations at Security Council Ministerial Meeting on the Middle East

 

11 May 2009

Mr. President,

I am greatly honored to attend this Security Council Meeting on the Middle East as the special envoy of China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. I would like to thank the government of Russia for initiating today's meeting and thank you for presiding over it. My thanks also go to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his briefing on the current situation in the Middle East.

(Photo: Mr. Shen Hong, Xinhua News Agency)

Mr. President,

Resolution 1860 adopted by the Security Council in January this year is the result of arduous efforts by all parties. It brought about the Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire and created conditions for resumption of the Middle East peace process. Regrettably, however, the above resolution has not been implemented comprehensively and effectively. Israel should open up the border crossings to Gaza to facilitate the reconstruction efforts and access of humanitarian supplies to Gaza, and to ease the humanitarian crisis there. It should also stop its continuous settlement construction in the West Bank. Palestine should strengthen its internal unity and reconciliation. Parties concerned should avoid the use of force and civilian casualties, and ensure the implementation of resolution 1860.

Mr. President,

Political negotiation is the only way leading to lasting peace in the Middle East. The use of force will not bring about lasting peace. On the contrary, the cycle of violence will only exacerbate hatred and confrontation. At present, the situation in the Middle East is at a very delicate stage. We hope that Israel and Palestine will stay firm to the conviction of resolving the issue through political negotiations, avoid moves that may ruin mutual trust and reconciliation, and create conditions for resumption of the negotiations.

At the center of the Middle East issue is the Palestinian issue. The ultimate way out for the Palestinian issue is the realization of two states, Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace. Parties concerned should continue to act in the spirit enshrined in relevant UN resolutions, and adhere to the principle of "land for peace" and the "two-state solution". They should push for the early achievement of reconciliation between Israel and Palestine, establishment of an independent Palestinian state and peaceful coexistence of Arabs and Jews. We hope both Israel and Palestine will bear in mind the fundamental interests of their people and make the right choice.

Realization of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East depends on the settlement of all the relevant issues in the region. The negotiations between Syria and Israel, and those between Lebanon and Israel are important components of the Middle East peace process. They should be promoted in a holistic approach. Meanwhile, other hotspot issues in the region also need to be properly addressed to create an enabling external environment for the peace process.

The Middle East peace process cannot be achieved without the help and support of the international community. The international community should continue to support the development of Palestine, and immediately implement its commitment to reconstruction in Gaza. Parties concerned should uphold justice and strengthen the mediation efforts, and at the same time consider the establishment of a broadly represented, balanced and effective multilateral mechanism which will provide oversight and support for the peace process in the Middle East. China supports the efforts made by the Quartet. The Security Council should take up its responsibility of maintaining international peace and security. We welcome any initiative that will contribute to the Middle East peace process and support Russia's proposal to hold an international conference on the Middle East in Moscow.

Mr. President,

China always attaches great importance to the Middle East issue and is committed to promoting the peace process there. The Chinese leaders have worked vigorously to promote peace and negotiations in the region through frequent communications with leaders of the countries concerned. Two weeks ago, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi visited Egypt, Palestine, Israel and Syria, where he had an in-depth exchange of views with leaders of these countries and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States on the Middle East peace process, put forward China's propositions on how to promote the Middle East peace process and provided further assistance to Palestine for its reconstruction efforts. China will continue to work with the rest of the international community for the early and proper settlement of the Middle East issue and play a constructive role in the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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