|Remarks by Ambassador Dai Bing at the UN Security Council Briefing on MINUSMA|
I thank Special Representative El-Ghassim Wane for his briefing. I have also listened carefully to the statement by Ms. Bouaré Bintou Founé Samaké. I welcome the Permanent Representative of Mali to today's meeting.
Recently, Mali's transitional authority has made great efforts to improve the security situation and ease the humanitarian crisis. But it also faces multiple challenges. The international community should bear in mind the overall situation of maintaining regional stability, actively provide help and support, and do more things that are conducive to peace and stability in Mali. In connection with the Secretary-General's report, I would like to make the following observations.
First, recently, ECOWAS, the AU, and the Malian transitional authority have been in continuous communication on the issue of political transition, striving to narrow their differences. China commends these efforts, and hopes that the parties will reach an agreement as soon as possible to push the political process forward on the right track. Meanwhile, making arrangements for the transitional period and general election is only the first step. The key is to help Mali achieve long-term security and stability. The international community should support the transitional authority of Mali in accordance with the consensus reached at the National Reconstruction Conference to advance the reform process, implement the peace agreement, formulate and implement a comprehensive strategy for the central region, and help Mali embark on the development path that suits its national conditions.
Second, Mali is an important force in counter-terrorism operations in the Sahel region. Recently, the Malian Government has carried out a series of counter-terrorism military operations in the central and northern regions, which have effectively crippled terrorists and extremist forces, ensured the safety of local people, and helped those displaced people return to their homes. This is conducive to the stability and development of these regions. These efforts should be acknowledged. Meanwhile, terrorist forces are still entrenched in the central and northern regions, and the withdrawal of foreign military forces also provides them with an opportunity to take advantage of the chaos and to seek expansion. There should be no slack in the fight against terrorism. We should continue to support the Malian Government's efforts to combat terrorism and maintain stability, help it step up capacity-building, and respect its right to international security cooperation. China has noted the concerns in some media reports about human rights violations in the counter-terrorism operations in the Moura region. The Malian side have already made clarifications, emphasizing that relevant actions were aimed at rescuing local people, and that they have always respected human rights and were willing to conduct relevant investigations. China hopes that all sides will exercise restraint, and avoid making groundless accusations before any conclusion is reached by the investigation.
Third, the economic and humanitarian situation in Mali is daunting. Foreign trade, employment, production, and investment have declined to varying degrees. 42.7% of Malian people live in extreme poverty. 7.5 million people need humanitarian assistance. And 960,000 children under the age of five are suffering from severe malnutrition. The international community must not forget about the difficulties faced by African countries such as Mali, and African development issues should not be marginalized. As a good friend of African countries. China will continue to stand by African countries, accelerate the implementation of the Global Development Initiative and the outcomes of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, and continue to support Mali and other African countries in their economic recovery.
Fourth, the security risks faced by MINUSMA have continued unabated. It is heartbreaking that two Egyptian peacekeepers were killed in an attack last month. IED is one of the major causes of casualties among the MINUSMA peacekeepers. The Secretariat should take concrete measures in light of the relevant recommendations of the SG’s independent strategic assessment. It is essential to have an in-depth assessment of the impact of the withdrawal of foreign military forces on the work of MINUSMA, and to identify weak links in medical support, intelligence gathering, and security, so as to ensure that MINUSMA is not affected in the implementation of its mandate and to ensure the safety of peacekeepers. On March 22, a security incident occurred between the Malian authority’s security forces and MINUSMA. Fortunately, there was no casualty. China knows that both sides have launched investigations, and hopes that both sides will work together to find a proper solution based on the findings of investigations, so as to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents in the future.
Thank you, Mr. President.