China Rallies international support for West Africa and the Sahel

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A Chinese envoy on Thursday called for efforts by the international community to help West Africa and the Sahel to achieve peace and stability, fight terrorism and develop the economy.

Since last year, countries in the region have made considerable efforts to maintain peace and stability. Meanwhile, the situation in the region continues to face multiple difficulties and challenges. The political situation in some countries remains volatile with growing social tensions internally, said Dai Bing, China’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations. “China supports regional countries in resolving their internal differences through political dialogue, so as to create conditions for peace and reconciliation,” he told the Security Council. “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 line with their own national conditions. To impose governance models from the outside and engage in “democratic transformation” has proved to be of no value in addressing the root causes of unrest and has in some cases led to new chaos, he said.

Countries in West Africa and the Sahel have long been at the forefront of international counter-terrorism efforts. Extremist and terrorist activities remain rampant while counter-terrorism cooperation in the Sahel region finds itself in a difficult situation at the moment. In the face of the common challenges, the countries in the region should uphold the vision of common security, close ranks in counter-terrorism cooperation, unite each and every country and fortify each and every chain along the counter-terrorism front, he said. The international community should take stock of the lessons learned in the past and, through a more pragmatic and effective approach, support the countries of the region in upgrading their counter-terrorism capacities and revitalizing regional counter-terrorism cooperation, said Dai.

Since last year, countries in the region have been facing multiple challenges such as economic slowdown, 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, he said. 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, he said. Through bilateral and multilateral cooperation mechanisms, China has been providing support to countries in the region to enhance capacity-building and promote inclusive and sustainable development, which will help gradually build the foundation for lasting peace and stability, said Dai.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will travel to the region next week and visit Togo and Cote d’Ivoire. This trip is a continuation of the good tradition of China over the past 34 years by which China’s foreign ministers’ first visit abroad in the new year will be to Africa, he said.

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