1st LD Writethru: Momentum of political process in Mali must be maintained -- Chinese envoy

2021-04-06 21:56:35 GMT2021-04-07 05:56:35(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

UNITED NATIONS, April 6 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese envoy said Tuesday that the momentum of the political process in Mali must be maintained.

The overall situation in Mali is improving. At the same time, the country faces multiple challenges, such as terrorism, COVID-19 and a humanitarian crisis. The international community should continue to focus on Mali and provide necessary support, said Dai Bing, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations.

The good momentum of the political process must be maintained. The Malian government has formulated the transitional action plan, and implementation is the main task for the next stage, he told the Security Council.

As the Malian government works to coordinate and advance preparation for the elections, positive efforts will also be needed to promote development, improve people's livelihood in a way that can bring more benefits to its people, he said.

The agreement monitoring committee has met for the first time in northern Mali, which is of great significance. The signatories to the peace agreement must consolidate the existing results, continue to develop mutual trust, achieve more results on issues such as the deployment of armed forces and the Northern Development Zone, properly handle the issue of re-opening negotiations on the relevant provisions of the agreement, and firmly advance the implementation of the agreement, he said.

Comprehensive policies must be implemented to improve the security situation in Mali, said Dai. "Terrorist activities are rampant in central and northern Mali with frequent attacks that have led to the continued deterioration of the security situation on the ground. A comprehensive military, political, economic, judicial, and social response must be adopted in accordance with the recommendations in the UN secretary-general's report."

Actions to combat terrorist organizations must be accompanied by efforts to eliminate the root causes of terrorism and extremism. There must be support to the Malian government so that it can continue to actively participate in anti-terrorism operations of the G5 Sahel (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger), he said.

The UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, known by its French acronym as MINUSMA, must focus on its core mandate and earnestly follow the principle of a Malian-led and Malian-owned process and strengthen its coordination and cooperation with regional organizations, said Dai.

MINUSMA must develop its roadmap based on the actual situation on the ground, and make sure that its implementation is coordinated and consistent. Foreign counter-terrorism operations in Mali need to respect Mali's sovereignty, abide by international humanitarian law, and protect the safety of Malian people, he said.

It is imperative to organize an effective response to challenges such as COVID-19, he said.

The pandemic has started to rebound in Mali, which has caused concerns. The international community should provide Mali with support to fight the disease, including ensuring timely and fair access to COVID-19 vaccines for those in need, he said.

As Mali's economy declined, about 800,000 people went back to poverty last year, with 3 million people in urgent need of emergency food assistance. A large number of people were displaced. The international community must increase assistance to ease the difficulties of the Malian people, he said.

Dai also called for efforts to ensure the safety of UN peacekeepers in Mali.

This year MINUSMA has suffered multiple attacks, during which 10 peacekeepers were killed. The safety of peacekeepers is an extremely urgent issue and is the responsibility of all parties, he said.

Attacks against UN peacekeepers must be investigated and perpetrators must be brought to justice. It is necessary to analyze the causes of the incidents and identify the weakest links so that practical effective measures could be adopted to ensure the safety of all peacekeepers, he said. Enditem