|Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the UN Security Council Briefing on MINUSMA|
I wish to thank Special Representative El-Ghassim Wane for his briefing. I welcome Permanent Representative of Mali to the United Nations Ambassador Issa Konfourou at this meeting.
As SRSG Wane stated in his briefing, Mali stands at a crucial stage in implementing the peace agreement, promoting political transition, and preparing for elections. The international community must move in the same direction with the parties in Mali and render constructive support for its peace and development. Allow me to stress the following.
First, Supporting Mali’s efforts in counterterrorism and maintaining stability. This is the number one priority. The Malian Government has been vigorously conducting counterterrorism operations, and has launched a strategy to stabilize central regions and made robust efforts to improve the regional situation and ensure the safety and security of its people. Such efforts merit our recognition. That said, terrorist activities in central and northern Mali remain rampant. Terrorists ransacked villages and expelled villagers, causing massive casualties and displacement and posing a serious threat to the stability in Mali and the wider region. The international community must give top priority to supporting Mali’s efforts in counterterrorism, maintaining stability, and protecting civilians. Assistance must be increased in inter alia funding equipment, intelligence, and logistics. MINUSMA must effectively fulfill its mandate from the Council and provide all-round support. Some countries spoke of the human rights issue. We believe the ultimate purpose of counterterrorism operations is to protect the rights of civilians to life and security and other basic human rights. We object to using human rights as a political instrument to interfere with counterterrorism operations. And we are not in favor of linking human rights with counterterrorism support and assistance. Doing so would amount to intervention in Mali’s sovereignty and would in fact be counterproductive to the protection of human rights.
Second, promoting the implementation of the peace agreement. This is critical to maintaining peace and stability in Mali. We look forward to concerted efforts by the Malian Government and other signatories. we commend and support Algeria for its mediation and good offices. The parties should effectively fulfill their commitments, and adopt measures such as high-level dialogue to accommodate each other's concerns and resolve their differences in a collective effort to maintain national sovereignty, security and unity. MINUSMA must provide more support in areas such as the compliance of parties with the ceasefire arrangement, advancing the DDR process, and capacity building for the national security forces. China supports MINUSMA in rolling out the community violence reduction projects and quick impact projects in central and northern Mali and providing more support for water supply, agriculture, infrastructure, vocational training, and so on, to eliminate the root causes of conflicts.
Third, providing constructive support for the political transition. The Malian authorities have engaged in extensive dialogue with the parties and have done a great deal of work in formulating the Constitution, preparing for the general elections, and so on. The international community should support the parties in Mali in seizing the opportunity of the political transition, resolving their differences through dialogue, and ensuring the smooth holding of general elections, so as to lay a solid foundation for durable stability in Mali. China supports ECOWAS in its continued good offices and mediating efforts on the basis of respect for Mali’s sovereignty and ownership. The international community must remain patient, provide more support and encouragement for Mali’s political transition, and take practical steps to help Mali tackle any difficulties that may arise in the electoral preparations and other areas.
SRSG Wane, by steering MINUSMA through trials and tribulations, has done a great amount of work. in the current context, the mission is confronted with many new issues and challenges in discharging its duties. China supports closer communication between the Mission and the Malian authorities to resolve issues through dialogue and consolidation. In June this year, the Security Council will discuss the Mission’s mandate renewal. It is our view that the Security Council should listen attentively to the views of the Malian government, and streamline and optimize the mandate of the Mission as necessary to enhance its operational performance.
Recently MINUSMA tweeted a video clip, showcasing a typical day of work and life of Zhou Juan, a female Chinese paramedic, at a level two hospital. The tweet was widely praised and received numerous likes. This practice helps project a positive image of peacekeeping operations, winning the support and trust of the Government and people of the country concerned. China is ready to work with the international community to make greater contributions to lasting peace and development in Mali.
I thank you, Mr. President.