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Chinese Envoy Calls for Increased Support to Bridge Humanitarian Funding Gaps in Syria

Geng Shuang, China’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, on Thursday called on parties concerned to increase support to bridge the humanitarian funding gaps in Syria.

“At present, the huge gaps in humanitarian funding for Syria have already affected the implementation of relief operations and early recovery projects. We hope that the parties concerned will honor their commitments and further increase their funding support,” Geng said at a UN Security Council briefing on Syria.

The envoy said that the Syrian government has to date opened border crossings of Bab Al-Salam and Al-Ra’ee, taken positive measures to facilitate humanitarian access, ended the case-by-case approval procedure for cross-line assistance, and facilitated visa issuance for humanitarian workers. “These initiatives are welcomed by the parties concerned, and China commends these efforts.”

He noted that the Security Council should take into account the developments of the situation in Syria and the implementation of Resolution 2672 in its planning for the next phase of work in a science-based manner to further increase humanitarian relief to Syria and alleviate its humanitarian crisis.

Speaking about the cross-border humanitarian aid mechanism, Geng said that it is “only an exceptional arrangement in response to a specific situation and should eventually be phased out in an orderly manner.”

“Promoting the transition from cross-border to cross-line deliveries is the right way forward with subsequent discussions in the Security Council. China hopes that the members of the council will adopt a pragmatic approach and engage in dialogue and consultations on the arrangements to this end,” he said.

Geng underscored that cross-line operations should be the primary mode of humanitarian relief in Syria. However, in the past six months, due to the obstruction by the parties in de facto control of northwest Syria, the operations were interrupted for four months.

“The Security Council must come up with practical solutions to break the barriers in cross-line delivery, improve efficiency, and increase scale to ensure greater stability and predictability of the relief work,” he said.

On the explosive remnants of war (ERW) in Syria, the envoy said that they continue to cause civilian casualties, threaten the safety and security of humanitarian workers, and impede humanitarian relief efforts.

“We call for incorporating the clearing of ERW into early recovery projects without delay,” he added.

Turning to unilateral sanctions, the envoy said that some countries have been voicing their concerns about Syria’s humanitarian situation and requesting the council to adopt resolutions on humanitarian issues in Syria. “At the same time, they have been willfully imposing unilateral sanctions, causing Syria’s economic and humanitarian plight to worsen.”

“Such self-contradictory and hypocritical behavior is no different from pretending to be giving CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) to a patient without losing the chokehold on the patient’s throat. I wish to reiterate that all unlawful, unilateral sanctions against Syria should be unconditionally and fully lifted,” he added.