Envoy calls for efforts to maintain peace, stability in West Africa and Sahel

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Burkina Faso soldier stands guard at the village of Gorgadji in the Sahel region
Burkina Faso soldier stands guard at the village of Gorgadji in the Sahel region

A Chinese envoy on Thursday called for efforts to maintain peace and stability and to improve the security situation in West Africa and the Sahel.

During this year, Gambia will hold general elections and Mali has reached a critical stage of political transition. The international community should encourage relevant parties to resolve their differences through dialogue and consultation, encourage the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union to continue to play a leading role, while respecting the sovereignty and ownership of the regional countries when providing constructive support, said Dai Bing, China’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations.

Since the beginning of this year, the situation in West Africa and the Sahel has been generally stable, he told the Security Council in a meeting on the work of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel.

Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger and Benin have completed their general elections and formed new governments. Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo and others have actively promoted political dialogue. ECOWAS is active in maintaining regional peace and stability by participating in mediation efforts in Mali. China appreciates these developments, he said.

However, the security situation in the region remains fragile with frequent terrorist attacks and violent incidents, resulting in a large number of civilian casualties, said Dai.

“The international community should continue to support countries in the region to enhance capacity in maintaining peace and stability and countering terrorism, and encourage them to strengthen security cooperation by jointly addressing cross-border security challenges, such as piracy and drug trafficking in the Gulf of Guinea,” he said. “At the same time, it is necessary to adopt integrated policies to treat both the symptoms and the root causes, and to tackle the problems at the source.”

In the current situation, it is important to help relevant countries restore state authority, improve governance, promote economic and social development, and provide security guarantees to people and allow them to share the fruits of poverty reduction and development so as to counter the infiltration and influence of extremism and terrorism, he said.

ECOWAS held a summit last month, where a series of important measures were announced to advance regional economic integration, including joining in the creation of the African continental free trade area and working on West African single currency. These are firm steps toward regional integration. UNOWAS must support regional countries to promote friendship, deepen cooperation, advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, he said.

The efforts of regional countries to actively fight COVID-19 deserve full recognition. At present, the virus is still spreading in Africa. The international community should provide more assistance in anti-pandemic supplies, medicines, technologies and funding, and ensure vaccine accessibility and affordability, said Dai.

“We must also pay attention to the economic and social impact of the pandemic on regional countries and coordinate the prevention and control work and post-pandemic reconstruction. Relevant developed countries should fulfill their international responsibilities, take pragmatic measures in debt relief and development assistance, support regional countries in accelerating industrialization and modernization, and enhance Africa’s capacity for development and innovation.”

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, China has been firmly standing with the countries in the region by actively sharing experience, providing much-needed COVID-19 vaccines and anti-pandemic supplies in multiple shipments, and supporting them to resume work and production, he said.

In May this year, China and African countries jointly launched the Initiative on Partnership for Africa’s Development. China welcomes more countries and international organizations to join this initiative and form synergy in support of Africa’s development, he said. Enditem

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