January 27, 2023
I thank Special Representative El Ghassim Wane for his briefing. We listened attentively to the remarks by Ms. Aminata Cheick Dicko. We welcome His Excellency Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop to today’s meeting. His Excellency attending and speaking at the meeting will help the Council fully and accurately grasp the situation in Mali and the needs of the country.
SRSG Wane mentioned in his briefing that Mali has made major strides in promoting political transition, advancing peace process, and combating terrorism, none of which would be possible without the joint efforts of the Malian Government and the international community. As we speak, the political and peace process in Mali stands at a critical juncture, which requires unrelenting attention and support from the international community. We need to help the Malian Government properly address the various challenges.
First, maintaining unity and instability. Recently, Mali has initiated the constitutional process, set up a more inclusive National Transitional Council, and advanced election preparations. China welcomes these positive outcomes. Political transition can hardly be achieved overnight. It is essential to ensure broad-based participation, take into account the interests of all parties, safeguard unity and stability, and address differences through dialogue and consultation, thereby creating conditions conducive to the constitutional referendum and the electoral process. The international community, in providing support, should respect Mali’s sovereignty and ownership. The AU and ECOWAS should continue to play a constructive role. The implementation of the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement is of vital importance. We welcome the efforts made by all parties concerned to reopen the dialogue mechanism, including the monitoring committee, commend the important role played by Algeria in leading the international mediation team, and look forward to greater contributions from MINUSMA.
Second, strengthening counterterrorism capacity building. Recently, Mali has conducted counterterrorism operations in Mopt, Ménaka and Gao among other areas to maintain local stability and protect civilians. These efforts merit our full recognition. That said, terrorist forces remain rampant and are constantly harassing villages, kidnapping and attacking civilians. Such security threats are spilling over to neighboring countries. Mali stands at the forefront of counterterrorism efforts in the Sahel and West Africa. To support Mali in combating terrorism is to safeguard regional peace. The international community should help Mali strengthen its counterterrorism capacity building, bolster its support in terms of finance, equipment, intelligence, and logistics, and respect Mali’s sovereign right to engage in external security cooperation. Regional countries should keep up the current counterterrorism cooperation momentum and forge synergy.
Third, MINUSMA should keep improving its peacekeeping performance. Under the leadership of SRSG Wane, MINUSMA has carried out tremendous amounts of work in maintaining peace and stability in Mali. Yet, the nation faces quite a number of new problems and challenges. The Secretary-General’s latest report on the internal review of MINUSMA provides a series of recommendations on strengthening the work of the Mission and its reconfiguration. Improving the peacekeeping performance of the Mission is a shared aspiration of all Council members. We should seize the opportunity presented by this internal review to strengthen the Mission’s top-level design, streamline and optimize its mandate, and focus its resources and strength on the most central and urgent tasks, thereby coming up with a practical and viable plan. The relevant position papers submitted by the Malian Government should be taken seriously by the Council. In re-configuring the Mission, the Council should fully heed the views of Mali, and accommodate its legitimate concerns. The report referred to the problems encountered by the Mission in air and ground operations and in implementing the Status of Forces Agreement. These problems should be resolved through dialogue and consultation between the Mission and the Malian Government, so as to create a sound environment conducive to the Mission’s mandate delivery.
Fourth, enhancing sustainable development capacities. Mali faces a grim economic situation, with a quarter of its population in need of humanitarian assistance. We should work together to help alleviate its difficulties, ensure that relief funds are in place, and forestall the recurrence of humanitarian disaster in Mali. It is necessary to scale up investment in peacebuilding, support Mali in implementing projects in such areas as agriculture development, infrastructure, education, and housing, and help Mali enhance its own development capacity. A large number of Malian youths are caught up in conflict, violence and poverty. It is important to increase policy support and investment in this sector of the population. Last December saw the completion of phase two of Kabala Campus of The University of Bamako, which is the largest educational infrastructure project built with Chinese aid in West Africa. China stands ready to work with the international community to make greater contributions to the lasting peace and development in Mali.
Thank you, Mr. President.