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Statement by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Open Debate of the Security Council on the Relationship between the United Nations and Regional Organizations, the African Union in particular, in the Maintenance of International Peace and Security
(New York, 16 April 2008)

2008/04/16

President Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki,

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon,

Dear colleagues,

I wish to congratulate South Africa on assuming the presidency of the Security Council for this month, and I am glad, Mr. President, that you are personally chairing today's meeting. This open debate offers us an opportunity to discuss the United Nations' cooperation with regional organizations, in particular the African Union. This is of great importance in the maintenance of international peace and security. I wish to applaud South Africa for taking this initiative.

The UN Charter assigns the primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security to the Security Council. In Chapter Eight of the UN Charter, the founding members of the UN also encourage with great vision the development of pacific settlement of local disputes through regional arrangements. World peace and development are now faced with many difficulties and challenges, and it is imperative to respond forcefully and collectively to them at the national, regional and international levels. In a fast changing world, to strengthen the United Nations' cooperation with regional organizations will both promote multilateralism and boost the international collective security mechanism.

Mr. President,

At present, 60% of the agenda items discussed in the Security Council concern Africa, and two thirds of the UN peacekeeping operations are conducted in Africa. Without stability and development in Africa, global peace and prosperity is out of the question. This is the reality that all of us must face.

The African Union is the largest and most representative regional organization in Africa, and it has gained widespread international recognition for the increasingly important role it plays in maintaining peace and stability and resolving conflicts in Africa. The good cooperation between the United Nations and African Union in the past few years, marked by progress in countries like Burundi, Liberia, Somalia and Sudan, has become a model for observing the UN Charter. China salutes the determination, courage and dedication of African countries and the African Union.

The 21st century should witness the end of disturbances and poverty in Africa. It should be a century in which Africa fully controls its own destiny and realizes peace, stability and development. To achieve this goal requires the common efforts made by the international community and Africa and a closer partnership between the United Nations and the African Union.

Mr. President,

China supports the forging of a stable partnership between the United Nations and the African Union. The Security Council bears unshirkable responsibility in the maintenance of peace and security in Africa, while the African Union has a deep grasp of African issues. The two sides should strengthen coordination and form synergy on the basis of equality, mutual respect, complementarity and mutual benefit and drawing on each other's strength. In our view, the partnership between the United Nations and African Union should be based on a predictable, sustainable and flexible framework. While maintaining its authority, the Security Council should give priority to supporting the African Union's key role in resolving regional conflicts, and give full consideration to the views of the African Union. We hope the AU-UN "hybrid operation" in Darfur will complete its deployment at an early date and begin its operation. We also support the United Nations in taking over the African Union's peacekeeping operation in Somalia.

China holds the United Nations should carry out multi-faceted cooperation with the African Union in wide-ranging areas. Such cooperation should cover the three pillars of security, development and human rights. It should be pursued throughout the process of confidence building, conflict prevention, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, and sustainable development. To promote a culture of reconciliation and realize the Millennium Development Goals will not only help eradicate the root causes of conflict, but also provide a solid basis for ensuring peace in Africa. We support the United Nations and its Security Council, Peacebuilding Commission, Secretariat and other organs in building and strengthening coordination and consultation mechanisms at various levels with the African Union.

China calls for giving a high priority to capacity building in pursuing UN-AU cooperation. The African Union's efforts to make peace are constrained by lack of human resources, material supplies and funding. The United Nations and the international community should respond positively to African Union's legitimate requests, and work creatively to deliver on the promises and translate their pledge into action. We hope that the United Nations will strengthen its cooperation with the African Union in personnel training, institutional building, information and experience sharing, resources management and logistical assistance, fields where the United Nations has rich experience. The Declaration on Enhancing UN-AU Cooperation: Framework for the Ten-Year Capacity Building Program for the African Union should be fully implemented, and the United Nations should play a key role in pooling other international assistance.

Mr. President,

Both China and Africa follow the principle of mutual respect, treating each other as equals, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation in forging a new type of strategic partnership and carrying out cooperation that serves the interests of China and African countries and peoples. To achieve peace and development in Africa, China has been providing and will continue to provide assistance according to its ability to the African Union and African countries and will continue to support the strengthening of UN-AU partnership.

Finally, I wish to thank South Africa for drafting the Security Council resolution on the issue we are discussing today. China fully supports this draft resolution.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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