Chinese envoy asks for lifting of unilateral sanctions against Syria

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, June 30, 2020
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A Chinese envoy on Monday asked relevant countries to lift unilateral sanctions against Syria given the dire economic and humanitarian situation in the country.

The prominent factor causing economic and humanitarian crisis in Syria is unilateral sanctions, said Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appealed for the waiving of sanctions that undermine countries' capacity to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Regional countries also voiced their concern over sanctions on Syria, holding that such sanctions have already affected the economy of the region, he told the Security Council.

"We once again strongly urge relevant countries to lift these sanctions," said Zhang.

There have been rich and convincing research and analysis, including those by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on how sanctions caused humanitarian consequences, he said.

China calls on OCHA to pay more attention to the negative impact of sanctions and the humanitarian situation in Syria and other countries, and update the Security Council with a comprehensive review in this regard, said Zhang.

China has growing concern over the economic and humanitarian situation in Syria, and is deeply worried about the suffering of civilians across the country, he said.

Since June 2019, there has been a 200 percent increase in food prices. The Syrian pound reached its lowest point on record against the U.S. dollar. The World Food Programme estimated that 9.3 million people are food insecure in Syria. The COVID-19 pandemic brings further challenges, he noted.

The Syrian government bears the primary responsibility to improve the humanitarian situation in Syria, including preventing and containing the spread of COVID-19. Its role cannot be replaced, said Zhang.

Concerning the security situation in Syria, China supports the cease-fire appeals made by the secretary-general and his special envoy for Syria, and calls on all parties to seize this opportunity to enhance political dialogue and mutual trust, he said.

Meanwhile, Zhang stressed the need to prevent armed groups and terrorists from taking advantage of the current situation to escalate attacks. "Effective, cooperative and targeted counterterrorism efforts must be put in place."

He reiterated China's firm position of supporting the Syrian-led, Syrian-owned political process while fully respecting the sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity of Syria. 

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