Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at the UN Security Council Briefing on the Sahel

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November 16, 2022

I thank ASG Pobee and Mr. Tiare for their briefing. I also listened attentively to the remarks by Mr. Ramadan.

Recently, in the face of many difficulties, the countries in the Sahel region have stepped up their diplomatic efforts, enhance regional coordination and work together in fighting terrorism, making some progress. Meanwhile, regional countries are still facing a series of severe challenges in the fields of security, development and humanitarian affairs. At the High Level Meeting on the Sahel in September this year, Secretary-General Guterres called for creative measures to tackle the problems plaguing the Sahel region. The international community should take action and actively respond to the Secretary-General’s call to help the regional countries better address the current situation. I would like to make the following three points.

First, persist in dialogue and corporation and firmly safeguard common security in the region. The Sahel region is an inseparable security community, only by pulling together and uniting as one, we can effectively respond to the common security threats. Due to the different national conditions, countries inevitably may have different considerations on the issue of regional security cooperation. The right approach is to seek common ground,  while putting aside differences, and to find the largest convention through dialogue and consultation on the basis of respect for each other’s interests and concerns.  China supports the Sahel countries in strengthening political solidarity, working hard to remove obstacles in the way of regional security cooperation and restoring the normal operation of the G5 Sahel mechanism. the Sahel and West Africa countries should coordinate resources and enhance coordination to stop the spread of terrorist forces to the countries along the Gulf of Guinea. China supports the joint assessment by the United Nations and the African Union on the Sahel issue and looks forward to practical and feasible recommendations from the relevant assessments to reactivate the overall encounter-terrorism cooperation in the Sahel and in West Africa.

Second, persist in strengthening the foundation and continuously enhancing to improve counter-terrorism  capacity building. Terrorist forces are running a mug in countries, such as Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, showing a pattern of cross border linkages and multi-point outbreaks. During the reporting period, the G5 Sahel Joint Forces carried out several rounds of counter-terrorism operations, which are instrumental to maintain regional security and stability. The Joint Forces remains an important force in the regional counter-terrorism effort. We should support them in continuing the effective role. In view of the practical difficulties faced by the Joint Forces in terms of arms and equipment, logistical supplies, and financial resources, the international community, especially the traditional partners, should continue to provide strong support. The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali should continue to play a logistical role. The security council should attach importance to the ideas set out by Secretary-General Guterres and seriously study the provision of financial support to the Joint Forces through the  regular budget or peacekeeping assessments of the United Nations.

Third, adhere to the priority of development and stay committed to addressing the root causes of conflicts. Many of the security issues in the Sahel are in the final analysis related to development. China welcomes the formal establishment of The Independent High-Level Panel on Security and Development in the Sahel, and looks forward to the Panel’s contribution of wisdom and pragmatic and feasible policy recommendations to address regional challenges, based on the dialectical relationship between security and development. The international community should take into account the needs of the countries in the region, increase development assistance and humanitarian aid, the European Union and other major donors should continue to increase financial assistance to jointly help the countries in the region embarking on the path of sustainable development, and eliminate the breeding ground of extremist forces and terrorism. Some countries are concerned about the problem of climate change into the Sahel region. The right remedy should be prescribed to help the countries in the region enhance their capacity and resilience to cope with climate change through development, and break the chain of climate change transmission to security risks.

Mr. President,

China is an active supporter of the course of peace and has provided assistance to regional countries within the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the One Belt and One Road Initiative and the Global Development Initiative. The latest example is that starting from December 1st this year, China will waive all tariffs on 98 percent of the related imports from the least developed countries, including Burkina Faso. In the future, China will continue to work with the international community to provide sustainable and predictable support and assistance to the countries in the Sahel region, and make greater contributions to the achievement of lasting peace and sustainable development in the region.

Thank you, Mr. President

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