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Statement by Ambassador Zhang Jun at Security Council Debate on Countering Terrorism and Extremism in Africa

2020-03-11 21:47

China thanks USG DiCarlo briefing on behalf of Secretary-General Guterres and Ambassador Mohammed briefing on behalf of AU Commission Chairperson Faki, and Assistant Secretary-General and Special Adviser to UNDP Administrator Mr. Dieye briefing on behalf UNDP Administrator.

Terrorism is the common enemy of all peoples of the world. At present, the context of the international counter-terrorism effort is complex and challenging. The threat of terrorism is such that no country is immune to it and can stay untouched by it. What affects one affects all. Africa, being a continent blessed with the greatest potential for development, has in recent years been deeply troubled by terrorism and violent extremism. While old problems persist, new threats have been emerging. Africa is increasingly becoming the frontline in the global response to terrorism. Terrorist organizations taking advantage of the instabilities in some parts of Africa have been infiltrating into and spreading across the continent, disrupting regional stability and socioeconomic development and undermining world peace and security at large.

It behooves the international community to take swift, effective, and coordinated actions to help put African countries in a better position to address terrorist threats with more capabilities, resources, and means to eradicate the breeding ground of terrorism once and for all, and to combat terrorism and extremism in a comprehensive and integrated manner. In this vein, China welcomes the presidential statement just adopted. Important consensus was reached in capacity building, training, sharing of best practice, and lessons learned and strengthening UN agencies’ internal coordination and formulating national and regional strategies. I believe this will provide important guidance for our next steps. I would like to take this opportunity to underscore the following points.

First, to apply uniform standards across the board and forge consensus on counter-terrorism. Counter-terrorism in Africa is an important part of the global fight against terrorism. In helping Africa fight terrorism, the international community should uphold uniform counter-terrorism standards. All terrorist activities must be dealt with relentlessly, regardless of the flags they fly, the countries they target, or the tactics they employ. Linking terrorism with specific religions or ethnicity should be avoided. China supports the UN in playing a central coordinating role in helping African countries build greater counter-terrorism capacity and in prioritizing counter-terrorism capacity building for African countries. We support the international community in providing counter-terrorism assistance to African countries with no political strings attached.

Second, to take a holistic approach and tackle terrorism and extremism root and branch. Underdevelopment in the social economic sphere is a major driver for the breeding and spread of terrorism and extremism in some parts of Africa. Many African countries are confronted with a whole raft of challenges in infrastructure development, poverty eradication, employment, education, public health, and social protection. It is incumbent upon the international community to help African countries continue to implement the AU Agenda 2063 and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to achieve lasting peace and stability through economic development, poverty eradication, and improvement of the people’s livelihood. In particular, attention should be focused on education and employment of African youth to help African youth not fall prey to the pernicious influence of extremist ideologies. During the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China Africa Cooperation, China launched eight major initiatives, many of which are designed to provide African youth with assistance and training, so that they are better educated and more employable.

Third, to respect Africa’s leadership and ownership consistently. When helping Africa in its fight against terrorism, the international community should support African countries in finding African solutions to African problems. When providing counter-terrorism assistance, the international community should respect the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of the countries concerned, take fully on board the views and ideas of African countries and regional organizations, support their priorities, empathize with their anxieties and concerns, and focus on solving those issues considered most urgent by the countries concerned. It is particularly important to help African countries acquire improved capabilities and means for fighting terrorism, enhance information sharing, combat foreign terrorist fighters, and put an end to terrorist financing and using the internet for terrorist purposes, among other things.

Fourth, to give play to the role of regional organizations and form synergy for fighting terrorism. African countries cannot go it alone in combating terrorism and extremism. The African Union and other relevant regional and sub-regional organizations have a more comprehensive knowledge of the countries in the region and their counter-terrorism needs and are uniquely positioned to help solve the issues of the continent. China supports African countries in coming together to empower themselves and tackle the threat of terrorism as one. We shall continue to support the AU’s initiative of silencing the guns in Africa by 2020. It is our hope that the UN will scale up its coordination and cooperation with the African Union and other regional and sub-regional organizations, support African countries in actively implementing relevant Security Council resolutions and the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, step up the sharing of best practice and lessons learned and work in synergy.

China attaches great importance to the concerns of African countries and stands squarely behind African countries and regional organizations in their tireless efforts to combat terrorism and violent extremism. Through the China-UN Peace and Development Fund, we provide financial support for the UN counter-terrorism training programs in Africa. During the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation mentioned earlier, we decided to establish the China-Africa Peace and Security Forum and China-Africa Peace and Security Cooperation Fund in support of cooperation in peace and security between China and the African continent. We have provided through the African Union RMB 300 million yuan of assistance to counter-terrorism operations in the Sahel region and the development of the G5 Sahel Joint Force. We shall continue to provide material and capacity building assistance to African countries for purposes of combating terrorism to the best of our capabilities. China is ready, along with the rest of the international community, to support and assist African countries in combating terrorism and extremism, and continue our constructive contributions to peace, stability, and development in Africa.

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