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Remarks by Ambassador Dai Bing at Security Council Briefing on the G5 Sahel Joint Force

2020/11/16

Madam President,

I would like to thank Under-Secretary-General Lacroix, the Permanent Representative of Mali Ambassador Konfourou, Managing Director for Africa of the European External Action Service Mr. Vervaeke, and Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission Mr. Rae for their briefings.

At present, the Sahel region is on the whole stable. Countries in the region have achieved positive results in maintaining political stability and combating terrorism. That said, the intertwined problems of terrorism, separatism, transnational organized crime, food security and climate change pose serious challenges to these countries. Given the context described in the SG’s report and the briefers’ remarks, I'd like to make the following points.

First, we must work together to promote political solutions to hotspot issues. A coup d'état took place in Mali last August. With the efforts of the international community, ECOWAS and Malian parties, the crisis was resolved peacefully and the transition process is moving ahead with vigor. Given the crucial importance of Mali’s security and stability to regional security, the parties concerned must act in the fundamental interests of their country and their people and overcome their differences peacefully through dialogue to restore stability without delay. Several regional countries will be holding general elections in the near future. The international community must create an enabling environment to this end. The priority now is to seek the window of opportunity for resolving the Libyan issue and move the political process forward. So Libya can swiftly come out of the crisis and stop casting a long shadow on the Sahel region as a whole. China supports efforts to seek African solutions to African issues and a greater role for ECOWAS and the African Union in regional affairs.

Second, regional security must be addressed with effective efforts on the ground. The G5 Sahel Joint Force has achieved positive progress in their recent counterterrorism operations. Nevertheless, the Sahel region is still home to many terrorists and extremists who collude with each other and launch frequent attacks that caused civilian casualties. There is simply no room for the relaxation of counterterrorism efforts. China is actively implementing its aid initiative worth 300 million RMB to the security and counterterrorism operations of the G5 Sahel Joint Force. We encourage the international partners to continue leveraging their respective strengths and step of coordination in support of the counterterrorism operations and capacity building of regional countries. The Security Council presidential statement on counterterrorism in Africa adopted last March must be effectively implemented. We hope the Council will give priority to the needs of the G5 and provide more sustainable and predictable financial support to the Joint Force.

Third, the humanitarian crisis in the region must be high on the international agenda. The humanitarian situation in this Sahel region is deeply troubling, 31.4 million people in need of humanitarian aid and 5 million unable to return home. The international community should provide tailored assistance to reach their countries in their response to food insecurity and other issues, so that people's basic needs can be met.

The COVID-19 pandemic in the Sahel has somewhat eased thanks to the strict preventive and control measures taken by those countries. This does not mean, however, that there is no risk of a resurgence. China has sent multiple shipments of anti-COVID supplies to countries in the region and taken the initiative to share experience in this regard. We will continue to help them in combating the disease, including facilitating African countries’ early access to vaccines. We will continue to support local socioeconomic development and livelihood improvement, and in the meantime, strive to maintain our results-based cooperation in spite of the pandemic.

Madam President,

Peace, stability and development in the Sahel region is crucial to the long-term stability of the African continent. Despite the many difficulties and challenges, we are convinced that opportunities always outweigh challenges and solutions always outnumber difficulties. China is ready to continue working with the international community towards long-term peace, stability and prosperity in the Sahel region.

Thank you, Madam President.

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