Remarks by Ambassador Dai Bing at the UN Security Council Briefing on UNOWAS

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January 11, 2024

Mr. President,

I thank Special Representative Leonardo Santos Simão and Ms.  Lori-Anne Théroux-Benoni for their briefings.

Since the last year, the countries of Western Africa and the Sahel have made considerable efforts to maintain peace and stability in the region. China is pleased to see that Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Cote d’Ivoire have successfully completed their elections, while Senegal and Togo are fully engaged in political dialogue, which have yielded positive results.

However, the situation in the region continues to face multiple difficulties and challenges. The political situation in some countries remains volatile with growing social tension internally. This year, general elections are scheduled in several countries in West Africa, and the political transition and peace processes in Mali, Niger, and other countries have entered a critical phase. China supports regional countries in bridging their internal differences through political dialogue, so as to create conditions for peace and reconciliation. It is important to bring confidence and hope to the people by improving governance and strengthening state authority. The international community should support regional countries in independently choosing their own path of development in accordance with their own national conditions. To impose governance models from the outside and the engage in domestic and “democratic” transformation has proved of no value in addressing the root causes of unrest and has in some cases led to new chaos. China supports the constructive role ECOWAS continues to play in regional affairs. Efforts by UNOWAS to support the political and peace processes in Mali and other countries should be carried out in line with the will of the countries concerned and should form synergy with those of ECOWAS.

Mr. President,

Countries in West Africa and the Sahel have long been at the forefront of the international counter-terrorism efforts. Countries including Nigeria, Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso have been proactive in countering terrorism and maintaining stability. They have made tremendous efforts and sacrifices in doing so. At the summit held last month, ECOWAS reaffirmed its commitment to speeding up the deployment of the standby forces and conducting joint counter-terrorism operations. These efforts deserve our recognition. However, at the same time, extremist and terrorist activities remain rampant while counter-terrorism cooperation in the Sahel region find itself in a difficult situation at the moment. In face of the common challenges, the countries in the region should uphold the vision of common security close ranks in counter-terrorism cooperation and the fortify each and every chain along the counter-terrorism front. The international community should take stock of the lessons learned in the past and through a more pragmatic and effective approach supports the countries of the region in upgrading their counter-terrorism capacities and revitalizing regional counter-terrorism cooperation without delay.

Mr. President,

Since last year, countries in the region have been facing multiple challenges such as slowing economic growth, high inflation, food insecurity, and humanitarian crises. These problems are acute in some countries, and their negative impact on the political and security situation must not be ignored. The Secretary-General’s report calls for greater attention to those issues and a holistic approach to addressing the root causes of conflict. UNOWAS should strengthen coordination with relevant country teams, take an integrated approach to both tasks of peace and development, and support the United Nations support plan for the Sahel and the strategy for the stabilization, recovery, and rehabilitation of Lake Chad in order to achieve tangible results in the region. Meanwhile, the international community should provide financial and technical support to the countries of the region in terms of infrastructure development, employment, and income generation, with a view to enhancing people’s livelihood.

Through bilateral and multilateral cooperation under the framework of FOCAC and the Global Development Initiative, China has been providing support to countries in the region to enhance capacity building and achieving inclusive and sustainable development, which will help gradually build the foundation for lasting peace and stability. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi will go to the region next week, where he will pay a friendly visit to Togo and Cote d’Ivoire. This visit is a continuation of the good tradition of ours over the past 34 years by which China’s foreign ministers’ first visit abroad in the new year will be to Africa. And it will bring China’s contribution to promoting peace and stability in the region.

Thank you, Mr. President.


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