UNITED NATIONS, May 17, (Xinhua/GNA) - To attain stability and development in the Sahel region, a Chinese envoy highlighted four "imperatives" in a Security Council on Thursday.
Ma Zhaoxu, China's permanent representative to the UN, said that the situation in the Sahel region was stable as a whole but multiple challenges remained.
The international community needs to take integrated approaches, work from multiple angles, and continue to support countries of the region, especially to support the Group of Five for the Sahel (G5 Sahel) in addressing regional security challenges in an autonomous manner, he said.
The Sahel region stretches across the south-central part of Northern Africa between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea, touching multiple countries.
The Chinese envoy underlined that there were four "imperatives" to attain stability and development in the Sahel.
The first is advancing the political settlement of regional hotspot issues, said Ma, adding that it was imperative to push forward the peace process in the related countries.
"Military means alone cannot solve security issues," he said. "It is essential to continue supporting the relevant parties in Mali in carrying out inclusive dialogue and consultation, and accelerate the implementation of the Malian peace and security reconciliation agreement."
The second imperative is to step up the support for the G5 Sahel joint force, Ma said.
In 2017, five Sahel nations, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Chad and Mauritania, set up the joint force with the aim to roll back terrorism and lawlessness in the aftermath of a Tuareg separatist uprising in northern Mali in 2012.
The joint force has resumed operations as of earlier this year, overcoming many difficulties such as the deteriorating security situation and the lack of operational capacity and equipment, said Ma.
"This showed the determination of the regional countries to advance the development of the joint force."
The Chinese envoy called on the international community to provide continuing support to the joint force, adding that the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) should, in accordance with relevant agreements, continue to provide the joint force with the support package.
The third imperative is "to attach importance to economic and social development, and tackle the root causes of conflicts".
As the Sahel region faces many problems such as poverty, unemployment and environmental degradation, the international community should help countries in the region "rise up to development challenges and tap into their own potential," said the Chinese envoy.
It is essential to support the investment plans of priority areas formulated by countries in the region, as well as the Secretary General in implementing the UN comprehensive strategy for the Sahel and its support plan, and to assist Sahel in achieving sustainable development, he added.
Ma said that said fourth imperative to attach importance to the role of regional mechanisms.
"It is essential to support African countries in solving 'African problems' in the 'African way'," said the Chinese envoy, adding that regional and sub-regional organizations should be encouraged to be in the ‘driver's seat’ in addressing relevant issues.
Concluding his statement, the Chinese envoy pledged that China was ready to work with the international community to contribute its part to enabling the Sahel and the African continent to attain stability and prosperity.