|Remarks by Ambassador Dai Bing at Security Council Briefing on the Situation in West Africa and the Sahel|
I thank Special Representative Chambas for his briefing.
The situation in West Africa and the Sahel region is stable on the whole. Countries in the region are actively fighting the COVID-19, and many have overcome the difficulties posed by the pandemic and completed some important political agenda such as general elections. The United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) has actively carried out mediation and done a lot work, which China appreciates. At the same time, regional countries still face many challenges in maintaining peace, stability, and development. In connection with the Secretary-General’s report and the regional situation, I wish to highlight the following.
First, we should continue to support regional countries in building up defense lines against the pandemic. At present, amid the dire global pandemic situation, there have been some relapses in the region. For this reason, there cannot be any letting up in the anti-covid efforts. ECOWAS and UNOWAS should unite countries in the region, strengthen joint prevention and control, and carry out cooperation in relation to information sharing, detection methods, and clinical treatment. China has provided batches of anti-pandemic materials to regional countries and sent medical expert groups to Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, and The Gambia. We will continue to firmly support regional countries in fighting the pandemic, provide medical materials to countries in need, exchange experience in diagnosis and treatment, promote cooperation among Chinese hospitals and their African counterparts, and strive to make vaccines accessible and affordable. The African CDC aided by China officially started construction a few days ago. While ensuring that the center is well built, we will help Africa improve its public health system and emergency response capability, and help African people prevail over the pandemic at an early date.
Second, we should continue to consolidate the overall political stability. Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Niger have completed general elections, and Guinea-Bissau has settled the general election-related dispute. From this new starting point onwards, the relevant parties should work together to promote national development and durable peace and stability in the long-term interests of both the country and the nation. While Mali has started the transition process, The Gambia, Benin, Chad, and Cape Verde will hold general elections this year. All parties should resolve their differences through dialogue and consultation, so as to create a favorable environment for holding elections peacefully. The international community, respectful of the sovereignty of countries concerned and the will of the local people, should encourage the African Union, ECOWAS, and other regional and sub-regional organizations to play a greater role, support Africa in finding African solutions to African problems, and deliver positive energy for lasting peace and stability across the region.
Third, we should continue to help regional countries eliminate the root causes of conflict. West Africa and the Sahel region faces security challenges exemplified by Boko Haram and other terrorist organizations, pirates in the Gulf of Guinea, and intercommunal conflicts. We hereby express our condolences to Niger for the lives lost in the most recent terrorist attacks. The international community and UNOWAS should continue to support regional countries in improving their counterterrorism and stability building capacity and consolidate every link in the counterterrorism front through material assistance and personnel training. At the same time, poverty and underdevelopment remain the sources of instability. Comprehensive measures should be taken to help regional countries improve governance capacity, alleviate and eliminate poverty, provide basic security and safety for the people, and get rid of the breeding ground of terrorism. It is hoped that UNOWAS will strengthen communication and coordination with other UN agencies, ECOWAS, and the AU, play to each other's strengths, and form synergy in promoting regional peace and stability.
Fourth, we should continue to support regional countries in promoting development and prosperity. In recent years, West African countries have promoted the process of integration in general and regional economic integration in particular, actively participated in the construction of free trade zone on the African continent. Their development potential has been continuously unlocked. At the same time, the negative impact of the pandemic on economic and social development has become ever more obvious. The international community has the responsibility to help regional countries maintain macroeconomic stability, keep the industrial chain and supply chain safe and unfettered, take more and more practical steps in official development assistance, debt relief, and technology transfer, and support regional countries in achieving independent and sustainable development. China has always supported development and revitalization of the region. Since last year, in the face of difficulties posed by the pandemic, we have ensured the smooth construction or completion of a number of major projects such as hydropower plants, roads, bridges, stadiums and so forth. Responding actively to the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative, China has given concrete support to countries such as Cape Verde, The Gambia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Togo in tiding over the difficulties. China will continue to firmly support regional countries in accelerating economic recovery by, among other things, establishing a fast track for personnel exchanges with countries in need, so as to help regional countries stabilize their economies, ensure employment, and improve people's livelihood.
Thank you, Mr. President.