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Remarks by Ambassador Li Baodong, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, at the Security Council Ministerial Meeting on the Humanitarian Situation in Syria

2012/08/30
 

Mr. President,

I thank France for initiating today’s meeting and welcome Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius chairing the meeting. My thanks also go to Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson and UNHCR High Commissioner Antonio Guterres for their briefings.I listened attentively to the Foreign Ministers of Jordan and Turkey, the Minister for Social Affairs of Lebanon and the Deputy Foreign Minister of Iraq.

Mr. President,

The situation of sustained tension and incessant conflicts in Syria has caused huge casualty and seriously damaged the infrastructure and people’s lives in Syria. Syria’s economy is in the doldrums.Food, drinking water, medical facilities and housing are in shortage.The number of internal displaced persons and refugees continued to climb up and about 2.5 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian relief. Neighboring countries including Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey have sheltered a large number of refugees and therefore face mounting economic and social pressure.

China is gravely concerned about the humanitarian situation in Syria. We hope that the Syrian government will continue to cooperate with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. We appreciate the efforts of the United Nations and its specialized agencies,the International Committee of the Red Cross and other humanitarian relief agencies in and outside Syria in carrying out their work in harsh conditions. We also appreciate the important contribution of Syria’s neighbors in properly resettling refugees.The Chinese government has always been a supporter of the UN and other international organizations in their effort to alleviate humanitarian situation in Syria. We have provided emergency humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people and are prepared to provide more emergency humanitarian supplies to relevant countries in the near term to improve the humanitarian situation for the Syrian refugees on their soil.

Mr. President,

What emergency measures should the international community adopt to ease the humanitarian crisis in Syria? I wish to stress three points.

First, the effort to abate the humanitarian crisis in Syria must be based on strict compliance with the humanitarian principles of neutrality and impartiality and respect for Syria's sovereignty, independence,unity and territorial integrity. Politicization of humanitarian issues must be avoided.Humanitarian relief efforts should never be militarized. We should especially guard against and oppose any act of interfering in Syria’s internal affairs or military intervention under the pretext of “humanitarian” issues.Only with the trust and support of the Syrian people can humanitarian actions be implemented smoothly.

Second, the United Nations should play a leading role in coordinating international humanitarian relief efforts for Syria. China calls upon all parties in Syria to observe relevant international laws, maintain cooperation with UN and other humanitarian relief agencies and ensure timely delivery and distribution of humanitarian supplies.Given the rather big financial shortfalls for international humanitarian relief efforts for Syria, China calls upon relevant countries to timely and fully honor their assistance pledges.

Third, both symptoms and root causes should be addressed in resolving the humanitarian crisis in Syria. Failure of all parties in Syria to make good their commitment to a ceasefire and cessation of violence and frequent attacks and sabotage by the “third element'” constitute the direct reason for the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria. Mr. Annan's six-point plan and the Action Group’s Geneva Communiqué have not been implemented to the letter though they reflect the consensus of the international community. The top priority now is to cease all forms of terrorism and violence in Syria as soon as possible.Any encouragement to or connivance at continued military actions will only lead to more bloodshed, greater civilian casualty and deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Syria. The fundamental way out is to achieve immediate ceasefire and cessation of violence and launch a political transition process led by the Syrian people.

Mr. President,

China’s position on the Syrian issue is consistent and responsible. We believe that the general direction of a political settlement to the issue should be kept, that the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the basic norms governing international relations should be upheld, and that the relevant Security Council resolutions, Mr. Annan's six-point plan and the Geneva Communiqué should continue to be implemented. The Syrian issue should be resolved through a political process led by the Syrian people. China opposes externally imposed solution or forcing a regime change.China welcomes Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi as the new Joint Special Envoy for Syria and will, as always,support and cooperate with the special envoy's political mediation efforts.We stand ready to work with the international community in a joint and sustained effort for peaceful,fair and proper settlement to the Syrian issue.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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