China and the Islamic Republic of Iran have jointly expressed at the United Nations Security Council their support for Syria in its efforts to protect its sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence, stressing the need to eradicate terrorism and end all foreign occupation as elements necessary to resolve the humanitarian crisis facing the Arab Republic.
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Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, while participating at a Security Council meeting on Syria on Monday, stated that "we must take full advantage of the leading role of the Syrian government in order to fundamentally improve the humanitarian situation on the ground. With regard to the severe epidemic and food security issues, targeted humanitarian relief must be provided with a focus on the needs of women, children, and other vulnerable groups".
Zhang also warned during the meeting, which is devoted to the tenth anniversary of the war in Syria, that terrorist groups continue to "threaten the security and stability of the country and even the whole region," making it vital for the international community to "remain vigilant, strengthen cooperation, and firmly fight terrorism in accordance with international law and Security Council resolutions."
Commenting on the political settlement, Zhang stressed that Syrians themselves must independently determine their country's future and that the strategy of "regime change" was not an option nor a possibility. He added that external military interference only threatens to cause "greater disasters and serious consequences."
The diplomat emphasized that the lifting of sanctions and the West's economic blockade of Syria was critical to enabling the country to rebuild and called on the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to draw up and present a report on the humanitarian impact of sanctions and other forms of pressure against the country.
Zhang pointed to China's provision of 150,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines, as well as 750 tons of rice to Syria, and promised that Beijing would provide additional assistance to help alleviate the humanitarian crisis.
The Chinese representative's statements were echoed by Iranian Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi, who stressed the importance of ensuring that "uninvited foreign forces" are withdrawn from Syria while denouncing the policy of sanctions and emphasizing the fact that the conflict will have no military solution.
Ravanchi pointed out that key elements to a solution to the crisis will have to include "ensuring Syria's full sovereignty and territorial integrity through uprooting all terrorists, withdrawing uninvited foreign forces, ending the occupation, and securing its borders. Furthermore, necessary measures must be taken for reconstruction of the country's critical infrastructure, further improving the conditions conducive for the return of all refugees and internally displaced persons, as well as stimulating further progress in the political process".
The Iranian ambassador warned that sanctions only contribute to prolonging the "crisis and grief of the Syrian people" and said that "certain countries" have sought to use sanctions to try to achieve "objectives that they have failed to gain by military means or political leverage," "punishing the entire Syrian nation" in the process.
"Weaponising food and medicine and endangering the food security of a nation are unjust and unacceptable," the diplomat stressed, adding that such measures were a violation of the principles of the UN and should therefore be "removed immediately."
Russia, Syria's other ally in the fight against jihadist extremism, joined China and Iran in expressing concern about the humanitarian situation at Monday's meeting, with Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin accusing terrorists in the Idlib de-escalation zone of restricting civilians' access to humanitarian aid and hindering movement.