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Statement by Ambassador Wang Min at the Security Council Debate on the Situation in the Great Lakes Region



Madam President,

China appreciates the United States initiative to convene this debate on the situation in the Great Lakes region. We welcome Secretary of State Kerry in presiding over today's meeting.

I thank Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President Jim Yong Kim of the World Bank and Special Envoy Mary Robinson for their briefings. I listened attentively to the statements of the African Union and the countries of the region.

The Great Lakes region is situated at the centre of the African continent and is endowed with natural resources, a storied history and rich cultures. It has unique development potential and advantages. However, due to such factors as an unstable regional security situation and protracted disputes and conflicts, security and development in the Great Lakes region have encountered constraints and difficulties.

It was encouraging that, thanks to the joint efforts of the countries of the region and in particular to the initiative of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in February the countries of the region signed the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region. This marked an important step by countries of the region towards resolving disputes by themselves and achieving regional peace and development through cooperation. Peace and development in the Great Lakes region have been offered an important opportunity. China highly appreciates the efforts of the countries of the region to implement the Framework. We hope that all parties will proceed on the basis of their common and long-term interests in safeguarding regional peace and development, act with resolve, seek consensus, implement their commitments in good faith, resolve regional disputes and conflicts once and for all, and embark on the path to lasting peace and sustainable development as soon as possible. To that end, I should like to stress the following four points.

First, it is crucial to pursue the positive momentum in fully implementing the Framework. The urgent task at hand is to ensure the complete cessation of hostilities and to restore stability to the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Armed groups should voice their grievances through dialogue and negotiations and conclude agreements to end violence with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, so as to create conditions for easing the humanitarian situation in the eastern part of the country.

Secondly, the support of the Government in strengthening capacity-building and providing security should be the focus in implementing the Framework. China welcomes the Government's establishment of a national oversight mechanism to implement the Framework. The armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo should assume the primary responsibility for safeguarding national security and protecting civilians. The Intervention Brigade of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo should help and support the country's armed forces in responding to threats from armed groups, under the Security Council's mandate.

Cooperation through dialogue and the rebuilding of mutual trust among the countries of the Great Lakes region is crucial to restoring peace and stability in the region and achieving development. We hope that the countries of the region will - on the basis of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity and through the 11-4 Framework oversight mechanism and the International Conference of the Great Lakes region joint verification mechanism - strengthen communication and cooperation, participate actively in the drafting of regional benchmarks for the Framework and commit themselves to peace and development in the region. Fourthly, the international community should scale up its support and assistance and contribute positively to long-term peace and stability in the Great Lakes region. We hope that the United Nations will work with the African Union, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region and other regional mechanisms, strengthen coordination, foment synergy and push the parties to honour their commitments to the Framework by taking action. We also hope that the World Bank's $1 billion to the Great Lakes region will be disbursed quickly to support the countries of the region to develop their national economies, improve people's livelihoods and achieve lasting peace.

As stated by Chinese President Xi Jinping during his recent visit to Africa in March, China is confident that the setbacks and difficulties being experienced by some African regions will by no means stop the continent's steady progress towards peace, development and progress. China remains Africa's steadfast friend and partner. We will remain resolute in supporting African States in their efforts to safeguard their sovereignty and resolve African issues themselves.

I would like to reiterate here that we have all along actively supported the countries of the Great Lakes region in promoting peace. For many years, China has been a participant in the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We have made tireless efforts to preserve security and stability in that country. We are ready to work with the international community and the countries of the region to contribute positively to freeing the people of the Great Lakes region from the suffering caused by war and conflict, as well as to achieve peace, stability and development at an early date.

Thank you, Madam President.

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