|Remarks by Ambassador Dai Bing at Security Council Briefing on UNOWAS|
I thank Special Representative Mr. Khatir Mahamat Saleh Annadif and Executive Director of UNODC Ms. Ghada Fathi Waly for their briefings. I also listened attentively to the statement made by Ms. Cécile Thiombiano Yougbare.
Since last year, countries in West Africa and Sahel have worked actively to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, maintain political stability and restore economic development. Special Representative Annadif actively fulfilled his mandate and played an active role in closely cooperating with West African countries and the sub-regional organizations. Under the current situation, this region still faces many difficulties and challenges. The international community should increase its support in the following areas.
First is to continue to maintain stability. At the end of last year, Cape Verde and Gambia successfully held their general elections. Cote d'Ivoire, Benin, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Togo promoted political dialogue and reconciliation, giving new impetus to maintaining the overall stability and development. Mali and Guinea are in a critical period of political transition. The international community should support relevant countries in resolving differences through dialogue, promote political transition, peaceful reconsideration, and preparations for general elections in light of their national conditions and within their constitutional frameworks, and strive to maintain stability and eliminate the root causes of conflicts. There has been an increase of protests in Liberia and the public security situation is grim. The international community should pay more attention to this and guard against any threats. China will continue to support ECOWAS and AU in their mediation efforts and support regional countries in looking for development paths in line with their own national conditions.
Second is to unite against terrorism. Terrorist forces are rampant in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria and other countries and they are gradually spreading to the southern coastal areas of the Gulf of Guinea. They operate cross-border activities and frequently carry out attacks, causing heavy casualties and threatening security and stability. The international community should support regional countries in strengthening counter-terrorism capacity-building and provide more support in funding, equipment and logistical supplies through multilateral and bilateral channels. It is necessary to respect the countries concerned in carrying out their foreign security cooperation according to their own needs, strengthen the coordination of counter-terrorism operations and information sharing to strive for synergy. Through measures such as de-radicalization, we should eliminate the root causes of conflicts, carry out vocational education and training, community correction, address youth education and employment, and prevent youth and even children from being recruited by terrorist forces.
Third is to strengthen maritime security cooperation in the Gulf of Guinea. In recent years, the problem of maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea has been prominent, and piracy is frequent, seriously threatening the security and stability of coastal countries and the livelihood of the people. They are impacting international shipping and trade and regional economy. On the premise of respecting the sovereignty and leadership of coastal countries, it is necessary to help regional countries strengthen anti-piracy capacity-building, carry out training of maritime security forces and improve joint law enforcement surveillance and other operational capabilities. UNOWAS and other relevant UN agencies should support the building of regional anti-piracy mechanisms to ensure their comprehensive, effective and sustainable operation. We can learn from the existing successful experience and explore measures to increase the fight against piracy on the basis of full consultation with coastal countries. China has taken note that Norway and Ghana have put forward a draft Security Council resolution on maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea. we will constructively participate in relevant consultations and contribute to supporting regional maritime security cooperation.
Fourth is to ensure access to vaccines for countries in the region. Recently, there has been a surge of COVID-19 cases in West African countries. The situation does not allow for optimism. The rapid spread of Omicron highlights the imbalanced vaccine distribution. It is necessary to continue to support regional countries to fight against the pandemic, increase assistance, give early access to safe, affordable vaccines, promote exemption of intellectual property rights of vaccines to regional countries and support local vaccine production. China will comprehensively implement the outcome of the eighth minister meeting of FOCAC, increase vaccine assistance to Africa, and make greater contributions to fighting against that pandemic in the region.
A few days ago Chinese State Council on Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Africa, continuing the 32 years of tradition of Africa being the first foreign visit of the year by the Chinese foreign minister. In this new year, China would like to work with the international community and make greater contributions to the stability, development and prosperity of the countries in the region.
Thank you Madam President.