|Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the UN Security Council Briefing on Mali|
I welcome the presence of Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop at today's meeting. The presence and statement of His Excellency at this meeting would help the Council have a comprehensive and accurate picture of the situation in Mali as well as the needs and concerns of the Malian side.
I thank Special Representative El-Ghasim Wane for his briefing, and have listened carefully to Ms. Touré’s statement. It is clear from the briefing that the current situation in Mali is complex due to a number of factors. The international community should enhance its strategic awareness, sort out the deliverables, set priorities, and provide constructive assistance in a targeted manner.
We must actively support Mali's counter-terrorism efforts. Currently, terrorist forces have spread from the Sahel region to the Gulf of Guinea, the Horn of Africa, the Great Lakes region, and even southern Africa. Mali is on the frontline of counter-terrorism in Africa, and has recently implemented with some success a series of counter-terrorism military operations. We should focus on the big picture and the overall challenges of counter-terrorism in Africa, provide more support to the Malian Government in terms of funding, equipment, and intelligence, and respect the Malian Government’s autonomous right to carry out security cooperation with its external counterparts. The countries of the Sahel region represent an indivisible security community. The countries of the region should strengthen their unity, and form synergy in building a solid barrier against terrorism. The Sahel G5 is an important mechanism for regional counter-terrorism efforts. China believes that the G5 can fully play its role as long as it focuses on counter-terrorism and eliminates interference. The strategic assessment of the Sahel region being jointly conducted by the UN and the AU should be dedicated to promoting regional solidarity and cooperation. In relation to the human rights issues mentioned by some countries, China believes that counter-terrorism actions should respect and protect human rights, while opposing double standards on counter-terrorism and politicization of human rights issues.
China welcomes the close communication between the Malian Government and ECOWAS on the political transition. The Malian Government recently announced a new transition period, and established the goal of restoring constitutional order through elections. China has always supported Africans to solve African problems in an African way. We always advocate respect for the sovereignty and political independence of Mali, and encourage the Malian Government to continue its communication with ECOWAS, so as to broaden consensus and reach an agreement on issues related to the political transition, so that sanctions can eventually be lifted, and Mali can return to the ECOWAS family at an early date. The political transition is just the first step, and Mali still needs the strong support of the international community to achieve sustained peace and security, implement the outcomes of the national reconstruction conference, and strengthen the country’s governance capacity. It is necessary to enhance the trust of the signatories to the peace agreement, reach agreement on outstanding issues through the organization of high-level meetings, and promote the DDR and development of the north. We should help Mali expand and restore state authority, alleviate the humanitarian crisis, enhance the people’s sense of ownership, eliminate the root causes of conflict, and solidify the foundation of peace.
Under the leadership of Special Representative Wane, MINUSMA has overcome difficulties and challenges, and actively discharged its responsibilities, which China fully recognizes. The original purpose of the Council's establishment of the Mission was to assist the Malian Government in implementing the peace agreement, and restoring state authority in the north. This should continue to be the top priority of the mandate of the Mission, as well as the primary benchmark for the Council to review its performance. As one of the largest UN peacekeeping operations, it is important for MINUSMA to strengthen communication and coordination with the country concerned, and, according to the latter's need, focus on the core mandate and pool the resources to the best possible use. The current priority is to make full use of existing resources in an effort to improve the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations. The challenges facing the Mission in performing its duties cannot be solved by raising the troops ceiling alone, nor can the expectations of the Malian Government be met in such a way. MINUSMA, among all missions, suffered the highest number of casualties in recent years. Granted, it is impossible for peacekeeping operations to be absolutely risk-free. But we should do our best to minimize security risks. We hope that the Mission will take effective measures to address the outstanding risks to the safety of peacekeepers. MINUSMA has encountered some logistical difficulties in the implementation of its mandate. The Secretariat, the country concerned, and the Mission should strengthen communication and coordination to properly resolve the problems facing the implementation of the Status of Forces Agreement. As the UN is about to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the work of the Mission, it should, in this process, fully heed the views of the country concerned, strengthen communication and consultation, and align its work to the needs and priorities of the host country.
Thank you, Madam President.