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Remarks by Ambassador Dai Bing at Security Council Briefing on the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel

2021/07/08

Mr. President,

I welcome the appointment of Mr. Annadif as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel and briefing the Council for the first time in his new capacity. We expect SRSG Annadif to lead the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel to play a greater role in promoting regional peace and development. I also listened carefully to the statement of Ms. Ayemou, the civil society representative from Cote d'Ivoire

Since the beginning of this year, the situation in West Africa and the Sahel has been generally stable, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger and Benin have successfully completed their general elections and formed new governments. Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, Togo and others have actively promoted political dialogue. ECOWAS is active in maintaining regional peace and stability by participating in mediation efforts in Mali. China appreciates these developments. During the year, the Gambia will hold general elections and Mali has reached a critical stage of political transition. The international community should encourage relevant parties to resolve their differences through dialogue and consultation, encourage ECOWAS and AU to continue to play a leading role, while respecting the sovereignty and ownership of the regional countries when providing constructive support. UNOWAS should render technical support for the upcoming general elections and political dialogue of relevant countries in light of the regional situation on the ground.

The security situation in the region remains fragile with frequent terrorist attacks and violent incidents, resulting in large number of civilian casualties. The Secretary-General pointed out in his report that the limitations of a security focused approach require a response integrating development, governance, and humanitarian dimensions to address the root causes of the conflict. The international community should continue to support countries in the region to enhance capacity in peacekeeping counter-terrorism and maintaining stability, and encourage them to strengthen security cooperation by jointly addressing cross-border security challenges, such as piracy and drug trafficking in the Gulf of Guinea. At the same time, it is necessary to adopt integrated policies to treat both the symptoms and the root causes, and to tackle the problems at source. Under the current situation, it is important to help relevant countries restore state authority, improve governance capacity, promote economic and social development. Providing security guarantees to people and allowing them to share the fruits of poverty reduction and development will help fully counter the infiltration and influence of extremism and terrorism.

ECOWAS held a summit last month where a series of important measures were announced to advance regional economic integration, including joining in the creation of the African continental free trade area and working on West African single currency. These are firm steps towards regional integration. UNOWAS must support regional countries to promote friendship, deepen cooperation, advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel and closely align regional cooperation priorities with national development strategies to form synergy.

The efforts of regional countries to actively fight the pandemic deserve our full recognition. At present, the virus is still spreading in Africa. Regional prevention and control work must not relax. The international community should provide more assistance in anti-pandemic supplies, medicines, technologies and funding, and ensure vaccine accessibility and affordability. We must also pay attention to the economic and social impact of the pandemic on regional countries and coordinate the prevention and control work and post pandemic reconstruction. Relevant developed countries should fulfill their international responsibilities, take pragmatic measures in debt relief and development assistance, support regional countries in accelerating industrialization and modernization, and enhance Africa's capacity for development and innovation.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, China has been firmly standing with the countries in the region by actively sharing experience, providing much needed COVID-19 vaccines and anti-pandemic supplies in multiple shipments, and supporting them to resume work and production. In May this year, China and African countries jointly launched the Initiative on Partnership for Africa’s Development. China welcomes more countries and international organizations to join this initiative and form synergy in support of Africa's development.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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