|Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the UN Security Council High-Level Debate on “Counter Terrorism In Africa”|
China welcomes H.E. President Akufo-Addo’s initiative to hold this important meeting, and recognizes his presence in presiding over this debate. I thank the DSG Amina Muhammed, Chairperson Faki, Ms. von Seherr-Thoss and Ms. Ero for the briefings.
Terrorism is one of the major threats facing Africa, which severely impacts the security and stability of African countries, taking a heavy toll on the social economic development in Africa. Supporting Africa in combating terrorism is a matter that bears upon world peace, and also an important responsibility of the Security Council. In recent years, the Security Council has met many times to discuss and consider issues of counter-terrorism in Africa. In issues of concern to African countries, some progress has been made. However, a lot of work remains to be done. The Security Council should respond to Africa’s urgent needs as its own, further prioritize its attention and resources towards Africa, to help Africa address the most pressing challenges and their root causes in terms of combating terrorism.
First, we should build a strong foundation to support African countries in enhancing their counter-terrorism capacity. It has been proven time and again in international counter-terrorism practice, that only when the countries concerned have established professional, efficient and robust security teams, can they create an effective deterrent effect on terrorist activities. Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, DRC, Mozambique, Nigeria and other countries have long been at the forefront fighting terrorism. The security sectors in these countries have made tremendous efforts and sacrifices. Their achievements in combating terrorism deserve recognition. Their experience gains in building up security capacities is worth summarization and dissemination.
The international community should address the weaknesses in security capacity-building in African countries, and scale up support in terms of funding, equipment, intelligence and logistic support. When it comes to counter-terrorism cooperation with African countries, one must fully respect the sovereignty of the countries concerned and their right to carry out external security cooperation. No other political conditions should be attached. The arms embargoes imposed by the Security Council on Sudan, South Sudan and DRC, have had negative impact on the security capacity in these countries, and therefore should be adjusted or lifted in a timely manner.
Second, we should support regional cooperation and build a solid common security fence line for regional countries. In recent years, terrorist organizations in Africa have shown a posture featuring cross broader linkages and multipoint outbreaks. The Southern African Development Community has set up a mission to combat terrorism in northern Mozambique, which achieved success. This shows once again that for combating terrorism, it is necessary to uphold a common, integrated, cooperative and sustainable security vision, and a coordinated regional forces to respond collectively. The international communication should support African regional organizations to strengthen border control and law enforcement cooperation, for synergy in regional counter-terrorism efforts.
Funding shortfall is an important issue affecting counter-terrorism cooperation Africa. Secretary General Guterres’s proposal to provide financial support through the UN regular budget or peacekeeping assessment is an idea that deserves careful study by the Security Council. G5 Sahel Joint Force is actively carrying out counter-terrorism military operations at present. The operations encountered some difficulties. China supports the EU and the UN in undertaking a joint assessment on the Sahel, and expects that a relevant assessment will produce practical and actionable recommendations to revitalize counter-terrorism cooperation in the Sahel and West Africa as a whole.
Third, we should address both the symptoms and the root causes of terrorism. Military and security means alone cannot fully and completely eliminate the threats of terrorism. We must focus on the reality on the ground in Africa, with a view adopting a systematic governance approach to implement integrated measures. The Sahel and the Lake Chad region are highly representative. The local economies is comparatively underdeveloped, and the people there have difficulties in making living. So terrorist forces take advantage of the situation, and target unemployed poor youth from underprivileged background for recruitment. The international community should take measures to support Africa's development with a greater sense of urgency. The UN should listen to Africa and give more prominence to the importance of the development agenda, and raise favorable environment to enable Africa's development.
As a developing country, China shares the aspiration of African countries for development. Under the framework of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the Belt and Road Initiative, and Global Development Initiative, China is actively working with Africa to address the bottlenecks in infrastructure, human resources, trade and investment, putting resources towards poverty reduction, food security, public health and other areas where people's livelihood is at stake,to help African countries root out the breeding ground for political instability and terrorism. Beginning on 1st December, China will levy 0% tariff on 98% of items originating from 9 LDCs in Africa, such as Burkina Faso.
Fourth,we should leverage the leading role of the UN, and deepen international cooperation on counter-terrorism in Africa. The CTC, CTED and UNOCT should utilize their respective strengths, to promote the consolidation of the counter-terrorism legal framework at the international regional and national level, enhance information sharing, provide targeted assistance to African countries to improve their legislative, judicial and law enforcement capacities, and increase the effectiveness of preventive actions against terrorism. African countries have expectations for UN peacekeeping troops to support counter-terrorism operations Africa. The UN Secretariat that should attach great importance to this, and given serious and careful considerations in order to present solutions that not only conform to the peacekeeping mandates of the troops, but also meet the needs of African countries.
China has always been a staunch supporter of and an active contributor to counter-terrorism and stability maintenance in Africa. We have fully delivered on the peace and security projects announced by FOCAC, and provided free military aid to the AU and countries such as Sahel, the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Guinea to promote project cooperation. Through the China-UN Peace and Development Fund, China has supported the establishment of counter-terrorism offices in Africa and the regional offices on countering radicalization and preventing violent extremism on the continent, trained a large number of African law enforcement and security personnel, provided financial support for counter-terrorism capacity-building projects in Africa. Going forward, China will continue to work with international community, to take the implementation of the Global Security Initiative, proposed by President Xi Jinping, as an opportunity to provide further support to Africa in its fight against terrorism, to make greater contribution to the achievement of lasting peace and sustainable development in Africa.
I thank you, Mr. President.