|Remarks by Ambassador Dai Bing at the UN Security Council Briefing on UNOWAS|
I thank Deputy Special Representative Giovanie Biha and President Omar Alieu TOURAY for their briefings.
In recent times, West Africa and the Sahel has made a series of important achievements in maintaining common security, restoring economic and social development, and strengthening solidarity and cooperation in the face of the complex and severe international and regional situation. This region is strategically located, rich in energy resources and has great development potential. The international community and the Security Council should gain a deeper understanding of the difficult challenges and real needs of the countries in the region, make great efforts to address the root causes, and provide more targeted support and assistance for regional peace and sustainable development.
First is to give more vigorous support to regional cooperation, in order to build a collective security shield. Recently, West African countries held a summit and a conference on the Accra Initiative during which major consensus was reached on combating terrorism and establishing a joint regional counter-terrorism force. Nigeria's efforts to wipe out its domestic terrorist forces and deepen cooperation with neighboring countries such as Benin and Burkina Faso deserve our recognition. At the same time, the expansion of terrorist forces in the region is accelerating, and the problems of drug trafficking, arms trafficking and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea are far from being tackled, which can hardly be effectively dealt with by one country alone. China supports regional countries in strengthening the concept of security community, deepening communication and coordination on security affairs, advancing the construction of regional joint anti-terrorism forces and other security mechanisms, and strive to enhance their capacity in maintaining stability and fighting terrorism. The international community, especially traditional partners, should maintain their investment in regional security and provide greater support to the G5 Sahel countries and other front-line countries in the areas of funding, equipment, intelligence and logistical supplies to build a solid defense against terrorism. The High-level Independent Panel on Security and Development in the Sahel is actively working under the leadership of H.E. Issoufou. China looks forward to the pragmatic and feasible recommendations by the Panel, which will inject new momentum into regional cooperation.
Second is to give more vigorous support to political consultation and dialogue, in order to maintain the overall situation of peace and stability. During the reporting period, Nigeria and Sierra Leone steadily advanced their election agendas, while Côte d'Ivoire, Benin and Gambia actively engaged in political dialogue. This year, a number of countries will have election agendas. We hope that the political forces of the countries concerned will strengthen dialogue, forge consensus, and steadily advance their political agendas so as to make positive contributions to the stable development of their countries. Meanwhile, protests and demonstrations around issues such as general elections in Liberia have added political risks in some countries which deserve great attention. The international community should provide timely and constructive support. China supports the continued active role of ECOWAS and its member states in regional affairs. The consensus on political transition reached between ECOWAS and Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and other countries is a hard-won achievement that should be jointly maintained.
Third is to give more vigorous support for regional development, in order to build a firm foundation for long-term peace and security. The Secretary-General's report points out that growth in West Africa and the Sahel has slowed down. The food crisis has deepened, energy and inflation problems have become prominent. The international community, major developed countries in particular has cut back development assistance to the region. Recently, some countries in the region have been plagued by political instability and terrorism, and are caught in a vicious cycle of "poverty begets chaos and chaos begets poverty", which fully demonstrates that security and development are inseparable. UNOWAS and the relevant UN peacekeeping operations should focus on sustainable development at all stages of peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace building, and integrate security and development in order to create synergy. Developed countries should fulfill their development assistance commitments and increase financial and technical support in poverty reduction, infrastructure, food security and climate change. It is worth noting that some developed countries have adopted irresponsible monetary and trade policies, and their negative spillover effects have made the fragile economies of regional countries more difficult.
During the reporting period, UNOWAS has conducted dialogue with regional countries and supported cooperation initiatives of regional organizations. Its achievements are commendable. China supports in principle the mandate renewal of UNOWAS. We hope that UNOWAS will fully listen to and respect the concerns of regional countries in accordance with the mandate of the Security Council and play a greater role in regional stability and development.
As a good brother and partner of African countries, China has always stood firmly with the West Africa and Sahel countries. Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang recently kicked off his visit to Africa, including the countries in the West Africa and Sahel region. It’s his first visit since becoming Foreign Minister, which continues the 33 years fine tradition of Chinese Foreign Ministers to devote their first visit to Africa. China upheld the concepts of truthfulness, sincerity, righteousness and benefit, and carry forward the spirit of friendship and cooperation between China and Africa, and contribute to the maintenance of regional peace, stability, unity and self-improvement.
Thank you, Mr. President.