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China Daily Global / 2020-07 / 31 / Page010

China calls for lifting of Syrian sanctions

By HONG XIAO at the United Nations | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-07-31 00:00

China's top envoy to the United Nations called for the international community to increase humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people and urged the United States to stop politicizing the issue and lift unilateral sanctions against Syria immediately.

Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the UN said China follows closely the humanitarian and economic situation in Syria after a virtual briefing on the situation on Wednesday by Mark Lowcock, the UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs.

"We are deeply worried that Syria is now going through severe economic collapse. The loss of currency value, rising unemployment, increased food insecurity and insufficient medicine supplies all add to the sufferings of the Syrian people," he said.

Zhang said that the grave humanitarian impact in Syria from the unilateral sanctions is undeniable. Years of economic blockades and illegal sanctions have worsened the socioeconomic and humanitarian situations in Syria and undermined the livelihoods of innocent civilians.

At this critical time, the unilateral sanctions further compromise Syria's capacity to effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lifting the sanctions is more important and urgent than ever, he said.

Noting that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, his special envoy Geir Pedersen, and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, have made repeated appeals for the waiving of unilateral sanctions, Zhang said the appeals have received overwhelming support of member states. He asked for a positive response to those appeals.

Zhang said China urges the countries that have taken action against Syria to demonstrate genuine sympathy and support for the Syrian people by lifting the sanctions they imposed on them.

The ambassador reiterated that China's position on a cross-border mechanism remains unchanged. Considering the current situation, China does not object to retaining the mechanism at this stage, he said.

Zhang firmly refuted what he called "irresponsible comments" from the US and urged the US to stop politicizing the humanitarian issue and lift unilateral sanctions against Syria immediately.

"If the US truly cares about the humanitarian situation in Syria, it should stop its hegemony policy, government change and bullying practices in the Middle East and other parts of the world, which have led to endless chaos and instability."

Lowcock said humanitarian operations in war-shattered Syria are helping 6.8 million people a month, but a worsening economic crisis is deepening poverty and pushing more Syrians into humanitarian need.

"We're helping millions of people in Syria, thanks to donors. But more and more people need humanitarian aid. Food is unaffordable, children are out of school, civilians are still being killed and COVID-19 looms," he tweeted after briefing the Security Council.


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