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Chinese envoy urges relevant countries to lift unilateral sanctions on Syria immediately
update:July 24,2020
UNITED NATIONS, July 24,2020 -- A Chinese envoy on Thursday urged relevant countries to lift the unilateral sanctions imposed on Syria immediately.
"We urge relevant countries to respond actively to the appeals of the secretary-general and his special envoy on lifting unilateral sanctions (on Syria) immediately," Geng Shuang, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, told the Security Council's open videoconference on the political situation in the war-scarred country.
"We also request the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to assess the humanitarian impact of unilateral sanctions, as an integral part of the humanitarian reports," Geng said.
"Those who claim that unilateral sanctions have no harm on Syria, should join China and many other countries in requesting a secretary-general report on this issue," the envoy noted.
Geng noted that the reason behind the sufferings of the Syrian people is self-evident. Years of economic blockade and illegal sanctions have worsened the socio-economic and humanitarian situations in Syria, undermined the livelihoods of the Syrian people, and caused tremendous hardships to innocent civilians, in particular women and children.
"At this critical time, the unilateral sanctions further compromised the capacity of Syria to ensure access to food, essential health supplies and medical support to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is against humanity and totally unacceptable," he said.
The envoy called on the international community to take actions to help the Syrian government to cope with these economic and humanitarian challenges.
Talking about terrorism situation in the country, Geng said that "we welcome the efforts by relevant parties to maintain ceasefire and promote stability in Syria. The international community must be alerted and keep an eye on the terrorist activities in northwest Syria."
"We should not allow terrorist groups to take advantage of the current situation. The Security Council should support the special envoy's call for effective, cooperative and targeted counter-terrorism efforts," he said.
"We call on relevant parties to launch negotiations and take concrete actions on counter-terrorism," the envoy added.
Speaking about the future of the country, Geng said that Syria's future must be decided by the Syrians, without foreign interference.
"It is fundamental to respect and uphold the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria. China will continue to support the good offices of the special envoy in fulfilling his mandate endorsed by Security Council Resolution 2254 and work with the international community for a lasting peace in Syria," he added.
Referring to China's position on the Syrian issue, Geng said that China supports a "Syrian-led, Syrian-owned" political process from the very beginning.
"We encourage and support the special envoy to make every effort to promote political dialogue and enhance mutual trust among parties concerned. We hope the secretary-general and special envoy's ceasefire appeals will be accepted by all parties to the conflict so as to foster an enabling environment for negotiations," said the envoy.
"We are pleased to learn that Constitutional Committee will hold its third round meeting by the end of August, and we look forward to seeing more progress in this round of consultation. It could become a window of opportunity if the Syrian parties engage constructively with each other and with the UN Special Envoy under the Constitutional Committee framework," he said.
Geng added that China welcomes the convening of Astana virtual summit on July 1, and the joint statement released by Iran, Russia, and Turkey afterwards.
"The joint statement contains many positive elements with regard to the situation in Syria, such as standing against separatist agendas, opposing illegal seizure and transfer of oil revenues that belong to Syria, rejecting all unilateral sanctions and so on. China would be happy to see the Astana Process continuing to contribute to the political process in Syria," said the envoy. 
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