|Statement by Ambassador Li Baodong, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, at the Security Council Open Debate on the Situation in the Middle East|
I welcome His Excellency Mr. Ebrahim, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of South Africa, and thank him for presiding over today’s open debate. I also thank Assistant Secretary-General Fernandez-Taranco for his briefing. I have listened attentively to the statements delivered by the observer of Palestine and the representative of Israel.
The Middle East peace process is currently at an impasse, which is a source of great concern to China. We consistently advocate the settlement of disputes through political negotiations on the basis of the relevant resolutions of the United Nations, the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the road map for peace in the Middle East, with a view to ultimately realizing an independent Palestinian State living in peace with Israel.
China welcomes and supports any and all measures that would help to break the current deadlock in the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations and re-launch the dialogue. We appreciate the recent efforts of Jordan and the Middle East Quartet to facilitate direct contact between the parties. We hope that the relevant efforts to promote peace will help to ensure the early resumption of the Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations and achieve substantive results. China supports a greater role for the Security Council in resolving the Middle East issue.
Israel’s settlement activities are a major obstacle to the resumption of Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations. China expresses its serious concern at Israel’s recent approval of plans to build new settlements. China has always opposed Israel’s establishment of Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem. We urge Israel to immediately cease settlement construction, to act prudently and to actively align itself with international efforts to promote peace so as to create conditions for the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
The security and humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Gaza, remains grim. China hopes that the relevant parties will exercise restraint, avoid any escalation of tensions in Gaza, effectively implement the relevant United Nations resolutions and fully lift the blockade of Gaza. China has always supported the just cause of the Palestinian people as they work to regain their legitimate national rights. We have consistently held that the building of an independent State is the legitimate right of the Palestinian people and is a basis for the implementation of the two-State solution. China supports the establishment of a fully sovereign, independent Palestinian State based on the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital. China supports Palestinian membership in the United Nations.
The Syrian-Israeli and Lebanese-Israeli tracks are also important components of the Middle East peace process. A comprehensive solution to the Middle East issue is inextricably linked to peace negotiations between Syria and Israel and between Lebanon and Israel. China firmly supports the just cause of Lebanon and Syria to maintain their sovereignty and territorial integrity and recover their occupied territories. China supports the Arab countries in their strategic choice in seeking a comprehensive and lasting peace in the region.