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Remarks by Ambassador Dai Bing at Security Council Open VTC on Great Lakes Region

2021-04-12 00:51

Mr. President,

I thank Special Envoy Xia and Ambassador Edrees, Chair of the PBC, for their briefings.

For some time, countries in the Great Lakes region have worked hard to overcome the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, deepen cooperation and trust, promote common development, and build up the momentum for peace and stability. At the same time, the region remains afflicted by armed conflicts and intercommunal violence and continues to face multiple challenges in socioeconomic development and livelihood improvement, the resolution of which will require more attention and investment from the international community. In light of the SG’s report, I would like to emphasize the following three points.

First, we call for the steadfast implementation of the PSC framework. Recently, cross-border security incidents in the Great Lakes region have decreased significantly. Several countries in the region have completed their general election. DRC continues to improve its relations with neighboring countries. Dialogue between Burundi and Rwanda has resumed. ICGLR and SADC have reached more consensus on regional issues. Mutual political trust among countries in the region has become ever stronger, and the concept of resolving differences through dialogue and consultation has taken hold. China is pleased with these developments and hopes that all parties will keep the momentum of cooperation, operationalize the Contact and Coordination Group, and strengthen the monitoring and verification mechanism, and hold the 10th high-level meeting of the regional oversight mechanism when conditions permit so as to inject more positive energy into the regional situation.

Second, we underscore the need to eliminate the root causes of conflict. The Great Lakes region is rich in resources, and has enormous development potential. Regional countries should seize the opportunity of the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area, boost regional economic cooperation and translate natural resources into people's well-being, rather than allow them to drive conflicts and wars, with a view to promoting peace through development. It is essential to provide former combatants with viable livelihoods and remove any incentives for being involved in armed conflict, so as to enhance the sustainability of the DDR process. COVID-19 has inflicted a sweeping shock on the Great Lakes region. The international community should make COVID vaccine more accessibility and affordable to the region, in order to help regional countries fight the pandemic and tide over the difficulties.

Third, we call for enhanced coordination of UN entities in the Great Lakes region. In order to address the higly complicated situation in region, the Office of the Special Envoy is formulating the action plan in implemation of the new UN Strategy for the region. We hope that the Special Envoy’s Office will adhere to a problem-driven approach, strengthen policy coherence and operations coordination, leverage the respective advantages of various UN agencies, focus on promoting post pandemic reconstruction and eliminating the root causes of conflicts and come up with practical plans. According to relevant resolutions of the Security Council, the SG’s Special Envoy assumes the important responsibility of leading, coordinating and evaluating the implementation of the PSC framework. The PBC, with its extensive mandates that dovetail with the needs of the Great Lakes region, is in a unique position to facilitate the implementation of the PSC framework. Special Envoy Xia should continue to maintain close coordination with relevant countries, regional organizations, as well as other UN agencies and make important contributions to improving the regional situation. The PBC, under the leadership of Ambassador Edrees, has made tremendous efforts for the Great Lakes region as well. We hope that the Office of the Special Envoy and the PBC will further strengthen cooperation and form synergy. We also hope that members of the Security Council will give strong support.

Supporting the Great Lakes region on its path towards prosperity and stability is a collective responsibility of the international community. The Security Council's attention to and investment in this region should be strengthened, rather than weakened. We hope that all members of the Council will maintain unity and cohesion, proceed from the well-being of the people in the region, and participate constructively in discussions on relevant issues. China has been actively supporting countries in the region in COVID-19 response and post-pandemic recovery, and will continue to contribute to the long-term peace and stability of the region.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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