|Statement by Ambassador Liu Jieyi at the Security Council Briefing on Situation in the Sahel|
China is grateful for the President’s efforts in convening today’s meeting, and for the briefings and presence of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Special Envoy Prodi and Mr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank. We also listened with great interest to the statements made by the representatives of the African Union and the European Union.
At present, the situation generally in Africa is characterized by stability, development and peace. In most countries, the political situation remains stable, and tensions have been mitigated in certain flashpoint areas. The African Union and other regional organizations and African countries are committed to maintaining peace and stability, promoting the African collective security mechanism and seeking African solutions to African problems.
The African economy has maintained rapid growth. The integration process is pressing ahead. The international influence of the African continent has been rising steadily. The international community is paying more attention to Africa. The launch of the United Nations integrated strategy for the Sahel and the presidential statement adopted moments ago fully demonstrate the priority that has been given by the international community to peace and security in Africa, including the Sahel region.
The security and humanitarian situation in the Sahel has witnessed some improvement recently. However, the region remains fragile, for which China expresses its concern. We appreciate the recent joint visit to the Sahel region by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Ms. Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, President Jim Yong Kim of the World Bank, and President Kaberuka of the African Development Bank. We welcome and applaud the positive results of the joint visit. We also appreciate the hard work of Special Envoy Prodi in implementing the United Nations integrated strategy for the Sahel. We welcome the establishment of the coordination platform for the strategy and of the secretariat for technical coordination. We hope that that relevant mechanism will play a positive role in improving the situation in the Sahel.
The problems in the Sahel are interrelated and mutually reinforcing. Swift and comprehensive improvement of the situation in the region requires integrated policies. China suggests that the international community work concertedly in the following three areas.
First of all, the international community must continue to support the efforts of the countries of the region in maintaining peace and stability. Significant progress has been achieved in the situation in Mali, as demonstrated by the successful legislative election, and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali is making steady headway in deployment. However, we should be mindful that the Sahel is still facing various threats, including the spread of terrorism and extremism, weapons proliferation and transnational organized crime. Mali and other countries of the region are still facing a long and winding road in their quest for long-term stability. The international community should therefore give greater attention to the situation in the region and actively assist countries of the region to consolidate peace and maintain stability.
Secondly, the international community must respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries of the region and listen carefully to their specific proposals and ideas concerning development and counter-terrorism. In the process of implementing specific projects, the international community must fully respect the opinions of the host countries so that the assistance can be more effective. The efforts to counter and combat terrorism and organized crime in the region involve many countries and are transboundary in nature. Countries of the region must strengthen dialogue, reinforce mutual trust and actively cooperate with one another to address those challenges. The international community and, in particular, the United Nations, can play a constructive role in that regard.
Thirdly, the root cause of the problems in the Sahel is poverty and underdevelopment. The international community must give priority to helping countries of the region achieve development by increasing assistance and investment in the Sahel so as to help those countries build capacity and infrastructure, expand their capacity for independent development, and ensure food security and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. China welcomes the pledges of the World Bank and the African Development Bank to provide $1.5 billion and $4 billion, respectively, to the Sahel region. We hope that the relevant pledges will be paid in full as soon as possible so as to enable an early launch of relevant projects and benefit the local population.
The Chinese Government attaches great importance to China-Africa relations. China has provided long-standing support to African countries in exploring viable development paths based on their national realities as well as assistance to the best of its ability to those countries as they pursue unity, strength, independent development and finding their own solutions to regional issues, including the situation in the Sahel. Last week, the first Chinese contingent, consisting of 135 peacekeepers, arrived in Mali and reported for duty. In the future, China stands ready to further exchange and enhance its cooperation with international and regional organizations, including the United Nations, so as to make a greater contribution to achieving an early and comprehensive settlement of problems that the Sahel is facing and to promoting the peace, development and stability of Africa.