China Calls on International Community to Provide Constructive Assistance to Mali

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A Chinese envoy on Monday called on the international community to provide constructive assistance to Mali in battling its terrorism challenges.

The current situation in Mali is complex due to a number of factors, and the international community “should enhance its strategic awareness, sort out the deliverables, set priorities, and provide constructive assistance in a targeted manner,” Zhang Jun, China‘s permanent representative to the United Nations, told a Security Council meeting on Mali.

Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations

The international community must actively provide assistance Mali’s counter-terrorism efforts, he said, noting that Mali is at the forefront of African counter-terrorism efforts and has recently implemented a series of counter-terrorism military operations with some success.

“We should focus on the big picture and the overall challenges of counter-terrorism in Africa, provide more support to the Malian government in terms of funding, equipment, and intelligence, and respect the Malian government’s autonomous right to carry out security cooperation with its external counterparts,” he said.

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In response to some countries’ concerns about human rights, Zhang reiterated China’s position that counter-terrorism actions should respect and protect human rights, while opposing double standards and politicization of human rights issues.

Malian authorities recently declared a new transition period, with the goal of restoring constitutional order through elections.

“China has always supported Africans to solve African problems in an African way. We always advocate respect for the sovereignty and political independence of Mali,” said Zhang.

He said that China welcomes and encourages the continuing of communication between the Malian government and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), “so as to broaden consensus and reach an agreement on issues related to the political transition, so that sanctions can eventually be lifted, and Mali can return to the ECOWAS family at an early date.”

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Concerning the priorities of the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA, Zhang stated that the mission was originally established by the Security Council to assist the Malian government in implementing the peace agreement and restoring state authority in the north.

“This should continue to be the top priority of the mandate of the mission, as well as the primary benchmark for the Council to review its performance,” he said, adding that the current priority is to make full use of existing resources in an effort to improve the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations.

“The challenges facing the mission in performing its duties cannot be solved by raising the troops ceiling alone, nor can the expectations of the Malian government be met in such a way,” he said.

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“As the UN is about to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the work of the mission, it should, in this process, fully heed the views of the country concerned, strengthen communication and consultation, and align its work to the needs and priorities of the host country,” said Zhang.

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