Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at Security Council Briefing on Syria
24 August 2021
I thank Special Envoy Mr. Geir Pedersen, Under-Secretary-General Mr. Martin Griffiths and Mr. Khaled Erksoussi for their briefings.
2021 is the 10th year of the Syrian crisis. The war has inflicted untold suffering on the Syrian people. We have once again been reminded by the briefers and the latest Secretary-General’s report that the Syrian crisis simply must not continue, and that the international community must implement Security Council Resolution 2254 comprehensively to restore peace and stability in Syria and alleviate its humanitarian misery. Today, I shall highlight three imperatives.
The first imperative is to expedite the process towards inclusive dialogue so as to bridge the differences between the parties and find a political solution for lasting peace and stability in Syria. To this end, the international community should provide constructive assistance, and the UN should continue to work effectively as the main channel of mediation.
China encourages Special Envoy Pedersen to continue facilitating the work of the Syrian Constitutional Committee, and calls on all parties in Syria to show ample political will and help the sixth session of the Committee materialize without hitting any snags, and make headway in a positive direction. The work of the Constitutional Committee must remain independent and free of foreign interference to ensure that the political process be Syrian-led and Syrian-owned.
The second imperative is to stabilize the security situation in Syria with practical steps and combat terrorism effectively. Recently, instability and volatility have persisted in the northwest, northeast and southern parts of Syria, with terrorist forces launching frequent attacks and armed groups escalating their clashes while the operations of foreign troops in Syria and Israeli missile attacks on the country have further heightened the tensions.
China calls on all parties concerned to genuinely respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and immediately end their unlawful invasion and occupation of and attacks on the Syrian territory. The international community should, in accordance with international law and Security Council resolutions, step up counter-terrorism cooperation and combat all terrorist groups designated by this Council. There is no place for double-standards. The Syrian Government has the sovereign right to lead efforts to combat terrorism on its soil. This right must be respected and any attempt to incite inter-ethnic divisions in the name of counter-terrorism must be rejected.
The third imperative is to ease the humanitarian crisis in Syria and support the Syrian Government’s effort to improve its people’s well-being and fast-track reconstruction. Syria is confronted with a multitude of economic and humanitarian challenges including armed conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic, soaring food rises and oil shortages. The recent repeated disruptions to the Alouk water station’s operation have had a dire impact on 460,000 residents in northeastern Syria for whom water is a basic necessity and a livelihood resource. Meanwhile, however, unilateral coercive measures remain in place, further exacerbating the humanitarian plight of the Syrian people.
The international community should swing into action without delay to increase aid deliveries to Syria including food, medical supplies and vaccines in the context of implementing Council Resolution 2585. China urges all parties to the conflict in Syria to protect civilians in real earnest and stop attacks on civilian facilities. China calls on the international humanitarian operations to respect Syria’s sovereignty and proceed in consultation with the Syrian Government, with the expansion of cross-line deliveries prioritized and cross-border systems made more transparent. Certain countries should heed the call of Secretary-General Guterres and the international community to immediately lift all unilateral sanctions against Syria. China has been supporting the efforts to ease the humanitarian crisis in Syria with tangible actions, and has sent multiple shipments of supplies to Syria for combating COVID-19. The latest batch of COVID-19 vaccines donated from the Red Cross Society of China arrived in Damascus on July 29.
During his visit to Syria in July, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi set forth China’s proposed four-point solution to the Syrian issue. He stressed that the principle of sovereign independence is inviolable, the humanitarian crisis must be alleviated without dithering, the fight against terrorism must not slacken off, and inclusive reconciliation is the path that must be followed without deviation. This proposed solution has found understanding and wide resonance from Syria and other countries in the region. China stands ready to continue working alongside the rest of the international community to implement the four-point proposal and contribute to achieving peace, restoring stability, expediting reconstruction, and bringing about lasting order and security in Syria.
Thank you, Mr. President.