China urges continued support for Mali After UN Exit

MINUSMA/Gema Cortes – UN peacekeepers providing free medical assistance to isolated communities in a remote part of northern Mali.
MINUSMA/Gema Cortes – UN peacekeepers providing free medical assistance to isolated communities in a remote part of northern Mali.

A Chinese envoy on Monday called for continued international support for Mali after the planned withdrawal of UN peacekeepers from the country.

Mali’s political and peace process is at a critical juncture while the UN peacekeeping mission, known as MINUSMA, is withdrawing from the country. The international community should put the overall peace and stability of Mali and the region first, help Mali address challenges of all kinds, and facilitate deeper cooperation between the United Nations and Mali in the new context, said Dai Bing, China’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations.

There is a need to continue to support the political and peace process in Mali, he told the Security Council.

At present, Mali is facing many difficulties as the authorities are preparing for general elections, promoting political reform, and implementing the peace agreement. The international community should respect Mali’s sovereignty and ownership and provide constructive support based on Mali’s actual needs. China encourages regional organizations to strengthen communication with Mali in order to create synergy, he said.

MINUSMA is withdrawing from Mali and the UN Secretariat is formulating a withdrawal plan. The mission’s camps are scattered across the country with a large number of personnel and equipment, making the task of withdrawal a heavy one. MINUSMA and the UN Secretariat should strengthen communication with the Malian government and the troop-contributing countries and refine plans for the handover of camps, withdrawal of personnel and the liquidation of assets. Ensuring the safety and security of peacekeepers and UN assets is a top priority, said Dai.

China commends the active counter-terrorism efforts of the Malian authorities, he said.

At present, the political situations in the countries in the Sahel region are volatile. Terrorism and extremist forces are taking advantage of the volatility, threatening regional stability, he noted.

“The countries in the region should resolve their disputes and differences and unite to meet the challenges. After the withdrawal of MINUSMA, the international community should not stand aside and do nothing with regard to the efforts by Mali and the countries in the region to counter terrorism and maintain stability. Instead, it should continue to provide supporting equipment, logistics and funding and enhance the capacity of the Malian authorities to combat terrorism and protect civilians,” he said.

There’s also a need to continue to support the countries of West Africa and the Sahel region in maintaining the momentum of counter-terrorism and security cooperation, revitalizing cooperation mechanisms and maintaining common security, he said.

Efforts should also be made to address the root causes of conflict. The UN agencies should provide more support in poverty reduction, development, food security, and the protection of women and children. International humanitarian agencies and major donors should maintain the scale of assistance to Mali and avoid attaching any political conditions to their assistance, he said.

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