|Remarks by Ambassador Dai Bing at Security Council Open VTC on Mali|
At the outset, I wish to congratulate you on the assumption of the Security Council's Presidency. We are confident that under your leadership, the Security Council will successfully complete all its agenda items. I also wish to congratulate the US delegation for the successful completion of its presidency for the month of March. I wish to thank USG Lacroix for his briefing.
At present, the overall situation in Mali is improving. The Malian government has made positive progress in the transitional process in establishing transitional institutions, implementing the agreement for peace and reconciliation, and preparing for the elections. At the same time, however, Mali still faces multiple challenges such as terrorism, COVID-19, and humanitarian crisis. The international community should continue to focus on Mali and provide necessary support. To this end, I wish to make the following observations.
First, the good momentum of the political process must be maintained. The Malian government has formulated a transitional action plan, and implementation is the main task for the next stage. As the Malian government works to coordinate and advance preparation for the elections, positive efforts are also needed to promote development and improve people's livelihood in a way that can bring more benefits to its people. The Agreement Monitoring Committee has met for the first time in northern Mali, which is of great significance. The signatories must consolidate the existing results, continue to develop mutual trust, achieve more results on issues such as deployment of armed forces and the northern development zone, properly handle the issue of reopening negotiations on the relevant provisions of the peace agreement, and firmly advance the implementation of the peace agreement. China supports the African Union and ECOWAS in continuing the positive and constructive role in the political process of Mali.
Second, comprehensive policies must be implemented in order to improve the security situation. Terrorist activities are rampant in central and northern Mali. With frequent attacks that have led to continued deterioration of the security situation on the ground, comprehensive military, political, economic, judicial and social response must be adopted in accordance with the recommendations in the SG’s report. Actions to combat terrorist organizations must be accompanied by efforts to eliminate the root causes of terrorism and extremism in order to remove both the symptoms and root causes. There must be support to the Malian government, so that it can continue to actively participate in the counter-terrorism operations of the G5 Sahel. MINUSMA must focus on its core mandate and honestly follow the principle of Malian-led and Malian-owned as it strengthens coordination and cooperation with regional organizations. MINUSMA must develop its roadmap based on the actual situation on the ground and make sure that its implementation is coordinated and consistent. Foreign counter-terrorism operations in Mali need to respect Mali’s sovereignty, abide by international humanitarian law, and protect the safety of Malian people.
Third, it is imperative to organize effective response to challenges such as COVID-19. The pandemic has started to rebound in Mali, which has caused concerns. The international community should provide Mali with support to fight the disease, including ensuring timely and fair access to COVID-19 vaccines for those in need to contain the spread of the pandemic. With Mali’s economic decline, about 800,000 people went back to poverty last year, with 3 million people in urgent need of emergency food assistance and a large number of people displaced. The international community must increase assistance to ease the difficulties of the Malian people.
Fourth, the safety of peacekeepers must be effectively maintained. This year, MINUSMA has suffered multiple attacks, during which 10 peacekeepers from countries including Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Togo and Chad were killed. More than 214 peacekeepers have sacrificed their lives since the founding of MINUSMA. China extends its highest respect to the countries concerned and all the peacekeepers who have laid down their lives, and expresses condolences to the families of all the victims. The safety of peacekeepers is an extremely urgent issue, and it is a responsibility of all parties. These attacks must be investigated, and perpetrators must be brought to justice. It is necessary to analyze the causes of the incidents and identify the weakest areas, so that practical and effective measures could be adopted to implement Security Council resolution 2518 and ensure the safety of all peacekeepers.
Finally, China wishes to thank Special Representative Annadif for his contributions to the peace and stability of Mali over the past five years. We welcome Mr. Wane’s appointment as Special Representative, and look forward to a greater role played by MINUSMA in maintaining peace and stability in Mali.
Thank you, Mr. President.