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Statement by Ambassador Zhang Yesui at the 64th Session of the General Assembly on Review of the Palestinian Issue/Middle East Situation

 1 December 2009

Mr. President,

Yesterday, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People held a special meeting in commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. H.E. Mr. Wen Jiabao, Premier of China, sent a message to the Committee to express China's firm support for the Palestinian people's just cause for national independence. In this connection, it is of special significance for the General Assembly to discuss the Palestinian issue and the Middle East situation today. We hope this meeting will inject new vitality into the efforts to resume the Middle East peace process.

Mr. President,

It has been two years since the convening of the Annapolis Conference, and the Middle East peace process is again at a new crossroads. We had hoped that Palestine and Israel could make positive progress in their negotiations for a just and lasting peace. Regrettably, however, the situation in the region is still fraught with twists and turns, and the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations continue to be bogged down in a stalemate. Despite the tireless efforts made by various parties to resolve the Middle East issue, especially the Palestinian issue, no major breakthrough has been made in the political process, and there are some disturbing developments on the ground. The military action taken by Israel against the Gaza Strip at the end of last year and early this year caused serious casualties and property damage. It not only triggered a severe humanitarian crisis, but also dealt a heavy blow to the Middle East peace process. The excessive use of force by Israel is unacceptable. It is proved that without the fundamental settlement of the Palestinian issue, there cannot be any guarantee for peace and stability in the Middle East.

Mr. President,

We are gravely concerned over the security and humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, especially in Gaza. With the onset of winter, the humanitarian situation in Gaza may continue to deteriorate. We call on all parties concerned to implement in good faith Security Council resolution 1860, urge Israel to respond to the appeal of the international community by opening all the border crossings to Gaza and giving humanitarian and reconstruction supplies unfettered access to Gaza so that the reconstruction endeavor will make progress at an early date. The international community should make vigorous efforts to provide various kinds of assistance to Palestine to promote its economic and social development, and promptly deliver on its commitment to providing assistance in reconstruction in Gaza to effectively ease the humanitarian crisis.

The situation of the people in the West Bank and East Jerusalem also deserves our sympathy. The continued expansion of settlements and separation walls by Israel is a violation of its obligations pursuant to international law, and in effect, does no good to its security. We call on Israel to stop construction of all settlements and separation walls, lift restrictions on the movement of the Palestinian people, and refrain from any act that may complicate the situation in East Jerusalem. What is revealed by the report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission of the Human Rights Council is cause for concern. Any violent activity targeted against civilians or in violation of international humanitarian law is unacceptable. We call on Palestine and Israel to carry out independent and reliable investigations into acts that seriously violate international law.

Mr. President,

It is the common aspiration of the international community to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East. We always maintain that political negotiations are the only way out for the Middle East issue, and violence will go nowhere. As the Middle East peace process is now faced with various challenges, we hope Palestine and Israel remain firmly committed to negotiations, stick to the peaceful approach, overcome all difficulties and disruptions to strive for an early resumption of the peace negotiations, and refrain from any move that may erode mutual trust and undermine the peace process. We support the request of the Palestinian people to restore their lawful rights as a nation and establish an independent sovereign state. We hope various factions in Palestine will bear in mind the long-term interests of the nation and speed up the reconciliation process.

Mr. President,

At present, the international community should continue to make unremitting efforts to promote the Middle East peace process. We support the prospect of two states and two nations of Arabs and Jews living side by side in peace -- a prospect that is achieved through negotiations on the basis of the relevant resolutions of the UN General Assembly and Security Council, the principle of "land-for-peace", and the Arab Peace Initiative.

The international community should also give continued attention to other issues concerning the Middle East peace process. We welcome the important progress made in the security situation and political process in Lebanon. We hope the various factions in Lebanon will adhere to the Doha Agreement, strengthen unity and work together to maintain peace, stability and development of the country. We respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Lebanon, and call on all parties concerned to comprehensively implement Security Council resolution 1701. The Syria-Israel and Lebanon-Israel negotiations are important components of the Middle East peace process. We hope all parties will make concerted efforts to create conditions for resumption of these negotiations.

Mr. President,

China consistently supports an early, comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Middle East issue. We support and have taken an active part in various efforts of the international community to bring about peace, stability and development in the region, including provision of economic and humanitarian assistance to the best of our ability. China will remain committed to the Middle East peace process. We will continue to work with the rest of the international community and constructively contribute to the achievement of the two-state solution and a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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