|Statement by Permanent Representative of China to UN Ambassador Wang Guangya at 59th Session of GA on Question of Palestine|
|(30 November 2004)|
We were all saddened by the passing away not long ago of H.E. Mr. Arafat, Chairman of the Palestinian National Authority. I wish to take this opportunity to once again express our deep condolences over the death of Chairman Arafat. His life-long dedication to the restoration of the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people will forever be remembered by the people of the world. We are pleased to note that the Palestinian people he left behind have maintained their unity and political stability.
The question of Palestine is at the core of the Middle East question. The key to achieving lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East lies in whether the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people can be restored. Security Council Resolutions 242, 338 and 1397 have laid an important foundation for a political solution to the question. History over the past five decades or more shows clearly that only peace negotiations, not military means, can lead to a fair and appropriate solution to the Middle East question.
At the present time, the Middle East peace process is at an important juncture, facing both opportunities and challenges. It is therefore important for the parties concerned to seize the opportunity, make concerted efforts, and create conditions for an early resumption of the peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine. We welcome the positive gestures made by the parties concerned. The elections to be held early next year in Palestine are of major significance to its stability. We believe that the Palestinian people will continue to maintain their unity and ensure the successful holding of the elections. China believes that the international community should provide necessary assistance to the elections. We also hope that Israel will facilitate the general public in Palestine to freely participate in the elections, and adopt measures to improve the humanitarian situation in Palestine.
Under the current circumstances, it is necessary for Israel and Palestine to exercise utmost restraint, avoid taking any action that might jeopardize the restart of the peace process, and try to do more to enhance mutual trust. At the same time, the two sides should reiterate their commitments to the "Road Map", and adopt effective measures to fulfill their respective responsibilities. We sincerely hope that the political leaders of both Israel and Palestine will demonstrate extraordinary courage and far-sightedness by seizing this window of opportunity and working vigorously for the early resumption of peace talks.
The settlement of the Israeli-Palestine conflict is closely linked with peace and stability in the Middle East and the world as a whole. Peace in the Middle East cannot be achieved without the effective support from the international community. Now is the time for the international community, especially the "quartet", to make greater efforts and to be more proactive in accelerating the implementation of the "Road Map" by Israel and Palestine. The United Nations, as an important organization for the maintenance of world peace and security, should also effectively fulfill its responsibilities in this regard.
Comprehensive peace in the Middle East cannot be achieved without appropriate solutions to the conflicts between Israel and Syria and between Israel and Lebanon. We appreciate the willingness expressed by Syria to enter into peace talks. We hope that the countries concerned will start negotiations as early as possible and seek mutually acceptable solutions in accordance with the principles set out at the Madrid Conference.
China, as a Permanent Member of the Security Council, has all along supported and worked to promote the Middle East peace process. In recent years, China has worked through various channels to promote peace. We have organized meetings on the Middle East issue within the UN framework and the Chinese Middle East Special Envoy has also visited the region on many occasions. With the rest of the international community, we are ready to continue to make tireless efforts for the early realization of peace and stability in the Middle East.
Thank you, Mr. President.