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Chinese envoy encourages countries in West Africa, Sahel to settle differences through dialogue

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-07-10 15:44
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UNITED NATIONS - A Chinese envoy on Thursday called on countries in West Africa and the Sahel to settle differences through dialogue.

"Many countries in the region, including Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea and Niger, all have important elections later this year. We have seen tensions rising in some countries. The electoral preparations are also affected by the (COVID-19) pandemic," Geng Shuang, deputy permanent representative of China to the United Nations, told the Security Council virtual meeting on the work of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS)..

"To create a favorable external environment, the international community needs to encourage relevant parties to enhance mutual trust and resolve differences peacefully through dialogue and consultation. China supports continued good offices and mediation efforts by UNOWAS to help ensure peaceful, credible and transparent elections in those countries, on the basis of fully respecting their national ownership," said the envoy.

Geng called on the international community to help countries in the region eliminate the root causes of instability through development.

"Underdevelopment is the root cause of many challenges and threats in the region. The international community needs to provide more support for the region's socioeconomic development, especially by increasing investment in agriculture, health, education, employment and infrastructure," he said.

"We encourage UNOWAS to strengthen coordination with other UN agencies and regional and sub-regional organizations, to align international and regional development initiatives with the national strategies of regional countries to get synergy results," said the Chinese envoy.

Speaking of the security situation in the region, Geng said that efforts must be made to help countries in the region to combat security challenges.

"Terrorist attacks by Boko Haram, the Piracy of the Gulf of Guinea, and inter-communal violence seriously undermine the security and stability of the region. We call on all parties to conflict to heed the secretary-general's appeal for global ceasefire," he said.

"China commends the important role played by the Multinational Joint Task Force and the G5 Sahel Joint Force," Geng added.

"More support should be mobilized to build up the capacity of countries in the region, to more effectively combat terrorism and transnational organized crime. The international community should provide more humanitarian assistance to the region and ensure its timely delivery to the most vulnerable groups," said the envoy.

"As a good friend and a good partner, China is a strong supporter for the peace and stability in the region. We are committed to help the region eliminate poverty, improve people's well-being and promote development," he said.

China will work with UNOWAS and the international community to help countries in the region combat COVID-19, maintain peace and stability, and achieve sustainable development, Geng added.

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