|Statement by Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu at the Security Council on the Situation in Mali|
I welcome H.E. Foreign Minister Le Drian to the Council to preside over today’s meeting. I also welcome H.E. Prime Minister Maiga. I thank Secretary-General Guterres for his briefing.
On March 23, violence in northern Mali claimed 160 lives. China strongly condemns the act of violence and expresses its condolences and sympathies to the people and government of Mali and the families of victims.
Last year witnessed the successful conclusion of the general election in Mali and the peaceful transition of government. Since President Keita started his new term in September, the peace process in Mali has registered positive progress. Prime Minister Maiga has been engaging extensively with the Malian parties and made important contributions. China commends the Malian government and people for their tireless efforts in implementing the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali.
At the same time, we have noted that the security situation in the northern and central parts of the country continues to deteriorate. Terrorist activities are rampant. Serious issues such as poverty, unemployment and underdevelopment undermine the peace process. The international community should continue to provide support for peace and development in Mali.
First, it is important to intensify efforts to advance the peace and reconciliation process in Mali. China hopes that all parties to the Malian peace agreement will consolidate the current positive momentum, continuously strengthen mutual trust, and put the interests of the country and the people first, and make joint commitment to development of the country. The international community should, on the basis of respect for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Mali, provide assistance in improving Malian capacity in independent development and governance. The Council sanctions regime for Mali should aim to support the political process and strictly abide by its mandate entrusted to it by the Council.
Second, we should help Mali enhance its capacity-building in security. In response to the increasingly complex security challenges in the northern and central Mali, the international community should continue to support and help the Malian government to improve its capacity-building in security and counter-terrorism, as requested by the Malian government, so that it can gradually acquire the capacity to assume security responsibilities throughout its territory. Peace and security in Mali is closely related to the overall security situation in the surrounding areas, which calls for an integrated response to terrorist activities in Mali and its neighboring areas. China acknowledges the progress by the Malian government and its security forces in assuming security responsibilities on the ground and welcomes the initiatives of the Joint Force of the G-5 Sahel in tackling security threats such as terrorism in the region. We commend the United Nations and MINUSMA for their support to the Joint Forces.
Third, we should support the economic and social development of Mali. The international community should continue to increase its support to Mali in consolidating its economy and achieving sustainable development at an early date. This will help Mali address the underlying problems it faces. China calls on all parties concerned to follow through on their aid commitments so as to ease the financial pressure on the Malian government. Recently, all the interim administration in the north were appointed. China welcomes this progress and hopes that the relevant processes can be advanced, so that basic services can be provided soon to the people in the north and people’s living conditions can be improved.
Fourth, it is important to support MINUSMA in continuing its work. The mission and SRSG Annadif have played an important role in maintaining stability in Mali, strengthening the security capacity building and assisting the peace process in Mali. MINUSMA’s mandate is significant for security and stability of Mali and the Sahel region. We hope MINUSMA will continue to cooperate closely with the Malian government.
China expresses its condolences and pay tribute to the MINUSMA peacekeepers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. We have taken note of the measures taken by the Secretariat and the Mission for enhanced safety and security of peacekeepers. We hope the Mission will continue to strengthen safety and security of its personnel and ensure that security equipment and materials are in place. At the same time, it should strengthen communication with troop contributing countries and donor community to ensure that the Mission has the necessary equipment and resources to fulfill its mandate and act in self-defense.
China firmly supports the people of Mali in their pursuit of peace and development. China is a major TCC of MINUSMA, with more than 400 peacekeepers in this mission. They are assuming responsibilities in medical, engineering, security and other fields, and their performance is widely acknowledged. China will continue to work with the international community to contribute to peace, stability and development in Mali.
Thank you, Mr. President.