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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the UN Security Council Briefing on MINUSMA

2023-06-16 17:20

Madam President,

I thank Special Representative El-Ghassim Wane for his briefing. I also welcome Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop to today's meeting. 

Recently, Mali has made active efforts in maintaining the country's stability and development, promoting the political transition, and combating terrorism, and has achieved significant progress. Mali’s political and peace process is now at a critical stage. Mali’s cooperation with the international community and the UN has also entered a crucial phase. Foreign Minister Diop’s presence at this meeting will help the Security Council better understand Mali’s position and concerns on relevant issues. I would like to emphasize the following points. 

First, the constitutional referendum is an important step for Mali to advance the transition process and maintain lasting stability. China welcomes the positive progress achieved by Mali in such areas as drafting the Constitution, preparing for the referendum, and building electoral institutions. We encourage all parties concerned in Mali to resolve differences through dialogue and create favorable conditions for the constitutional referendum. The constitutional referendum is an internal affair of Mali. The international community should respect Mali's sovereignty and ownership. MINUSMA should be available to provide Mali with logistical and technical support on the ground. China encourages relevant regional organizations to strengthen communication with the Malian Government and play a constructive role in supporting Mali’s political transition. 

Second, China commends the Malian Government’s active efforts in counterterrorism operations, which serves as a deterrent to terrorist forces. According to the Secretary-General’s report, in the past ten months, the number of civilian casualties caused by terrorist attacks has dropped significantly compared to the same period prior. Mali is at the forefront of counterterrorism in Sahel and West Africa, and has made considerable efforts to curb the spread of terrorism. The international community should give full recognition to these efforts and step up efforts in funding, equipment, intelligence, and logistics to support Mali in strengthening its security sector capacity building. 

Some colleagues referred to the issue of human rights in counterterrorism operations. It should be noted without a doubt that human rights need to be protected. It should be noted too that terrorism endangers people's lives and security. Eliminating the threats through counterterrorism efforts is in itself a means of protecting human rights. China has consistently opposed the politicization of human rights issues. MINUSMA’s and relevant UN bodies’ reports on human rights situations should be based on facts. Any allegations should be verified against facts. We must not adopt double standards on counterterrorism. More importantly, we must avoid stigmatization of counterterrorism operations, which would only play into the hands of terrorist forces. 

Third, peacekeeping operations are an important means for the Security Council to fulfill its mandate of maintaining international peace and security. Experience has shown that peacekeeping operations must follow the basic principles developed in practice over a long period of time, in particular, the principle of consent of the parties. Missions should maintain communication with the governments of the countries concerned and keep a relationship of mutual trust and cooperation, which is a prerequisite for smooth peacekeeping operations. As the political and security situation in the countries concerned evolves, the mandate of peacekeeping operations needs to be adjusted and optimized accordingly in a timely manner. In this process, the sovereignty of the countries concerned should be respected. The views of the governments should be fully heeded. And the real needs of the countries should be prioritized. Successful peacekeeping operations in the past show that clear and focused mandates and timely formulation of time-bound exit strategies are important ingredients in the recipe for Success. 

MINUSMA has been deployed for ten years with a lot of investment. In June 2022, the Security Council adopted Resolution 2640, requesting an internal review of the Mission to analyze new developments and optimize and streamline the mandate. The current mandate of the Mission is due to expire at the end of this month. China hopes members of the Council will fully listen to Mali’s views and concerns, have constructive and responsible discussions on the future arrangements for the Mission, and make decisions grounded in broad consensus. In this process, we encourage the penholder to maintain close communication with Mali and members of the Council. 

I thank you, Madam President.

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