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Chinese envoy calls for political settlement of Syria crisis

   Xinhua   09:15, April 29, 2021

UNITED NATIONS, April 28 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese envoy on Wednesday called for efforts to promote the political settlement of the Syria crisis and alleviate the suffering of Syrian people.

"The United Nations should continue its good offices and adhere to the Syrian-led, Syrian-owned political process. The international community should step up its efforts to seek a political solution and push for an early end to the Syria crisis," said Geng Shuang, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations.

China calls on all parties in Syria to closely engage and consult UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen and reach consensus on the arrangements for the sixth session of the Constitutional Committee as soon as possible. The committee, in its work, should remain independent and free from outside interference, he told the Security Council.

China has noted Syria's announcement that it will hold general elections next month. China calls on the international community to respect the sovereignty of Syria and the choice of its people, he said. "The future and destiny of Syria must be determined by the Syrian people themselves."

Terminating external occupation and eliminating terrorist forces are necessary security conditions for a political solution to the Syrian problem. Many Security Council members are concerned about terrorist activities within Syria and the risk of their spillover. The international community should work together in accordance with international law and Security Council resolutions to combat terrorist forces in Syria, said Geng.

The international community should enhance the relevance of humanitarian relief in Syria and effectively alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people. UN agencies need to scale up food aid and help Syria maintain its agricultural infrastructure such as water and power supplies, he said.

China supports the United Nations in providing COVID-19 vaccines to Syria through the COVAX Facility. China's shipment of its vaccines arrived in the Syrian capital of Damascus on Saturday. Hopefully, the timely vaccination will help curb the spread of the pandemic in Syria, he said.

Impacted by unilateral sanctions and economic blockades, Syria is suffering from a severe shortage of oil, and many gas stations have been forced to shut down. China urges the countries concerned to heed the calls of the UN secretary-general, the UN high commissioner for human rights, and UN member states and to immediately lift unilateral sanctions against Syria.

The United Nations should respect the status and role of the Syrian government and continuously improve the patterns of humanitarian relief to Syria, he said.

China welcomes the progress in cross-line humanitarian relief operations. In March, the World Health Organization delivered 470,000 cross-line medical services to civilians in the northeast. According to the Syrian government, the Syrian side has approved the cross-line humanitarian deliveries to its northwest. But the UN convoy has yet to make the trip, he noted.

"The Syrian government wants to know exactly what has hindered the cross-line deliveries to the northwest, who is to blame, and what to do next. These issues and concerns deserve attention and warrant response."

China hopes that the United Nations, on the basis of making full use of the existing border crossing, will continue to scale up cross-line humanitarian relief operations and open up cross-line transport routes throughout Syria as soon as possible, he said.

China remains committed to playing a constructive role in taking forward the political process, restoring peace and stability in Syria and alleviating the sufferings of the Syrian people, said Geng.