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Statement by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the Security Council Meeting on the Great Lakes Region

2019/10/03

Mr. President,

China thanks Special Envoy Xia Huang for his briefing.

The Great Lakes Region is located in the heart of the African continent, with abundant resources, vast territories and huge development potentials. For a long time, the Great Lakes Region has been plagued by strife and conflicts, turbulent security situations, lagging development and a grim humanitarian picture. Recently, thanks to the joint efforts of the international community and regional countries, the Great Lakes Region has made many positive developments in its political and security situation. The new DRC government smoothly completed its formation. After taking office, President Tshisekedi has actively sought to improve relations with other countries in the region, which injected a new impetus into regional cooperation. The situation in Burundi has remained calm and active preparations are underway there for the general elections in May 2020. President Kiir of South Sudan recently met in Juba with opposition leader Machar, which laid the groundwork for accelerating the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan. The Sudan Transitional Government was established last August and is actively working to achieve economic development and restart the peace process.

Since his assumption of office last April, Special Envoy Xia Huang has actively carried out good offices and made focused visits to countries in the region, including the DRC, Burundi, Uganda and Rwanda, to push for the improvement of regional relations and deepen the regional cooperation and integration process. He has done a great deal of work to support the implementation by the regional countries of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Great Lakes Region (PSC Framework). China appreciates this and will continue to support the Special Envoy and his office in performing their mandates.

China calls on the countries in the region to seize the positive momentum that has emerged in the region now by further consolidating mutual confidence, strengthening cooperation and pushing for the early attainment of peace and stability in the Great Lakes Region. The international community should provide strong support to this end. China has three suggestions to make:

Firstly, pay great attention to the humanitarian situation in the Great Lakes Region. Countries in the region, including the DRC, South Sudan and CAR, are facing a grave humanitarian situation, a large number of displaced persons and refugees, and a serious food crisis. The Ebola epidemic in the DRC has not been brought under effective control, with an increasing risk of it spreading to other countries in the region. Meanwhile, infectious diseases such as measles and cholera are also raging in eastern DRC, causing a death toll that is even higher than that of the Ebola epidemic. The international community should increase further the humanitarian assistance, effectively

honour the commitments to assistance, narrow the funding gap for humanitarian aid, and help the regional countries in resettling displaced persons and refugees. The Special Envoy’s Office can play a coordinating role in close cooperation with UNHCR and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).

Secondly, continue to promote greater cooperation among countries in the region. Effective communication and cooperation among the regional countries is the basis and guarantee for implementing the PSC Framework. China is pleased to see that since taking up his office, President Tshisekedi of the DRC has been active in honouring the country-specific commitments under the PSC Framework and working to enhance cooperation with other countries in the region. With the assistance of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region and of the ICGLR Secretariat, countries in the region have enhanced their mutual confidence and cooperation in the security sector. China calls on the United Nations and ICGLR to continue to leverage fully their mediation roles in nudging the regional countries towards better coordination and cooperation on such issues as the response to illegal armed groups and DDR.

Thirdly, make greater efforts for socio-economic development. Development is the master key to solving all problems. The root causes of the problems in the Great Lakes Region lie in poverty and underdevelopment. The way out is the achievement of sustainable development. The international community should increase assistance and investment in countries in the Great Lakes Region, in such infrastructure construction areas as interconnectivity, medical care, and education, and should help regional countries create jobs and improve people's livelihoods. The Special Envoy’s Office is assisting in the preparation of the Great Lakes Regional Investment and Trade Conference scheduled for November in Rwanda, a move which is believed to help attract international investment and promote cross-border trade. China welcomes this move and hopes that the Special Envoy will further promote stronger economic cooperation among countries in the Great Lakes Region, build up the interconnectivity infrastructure, advance the integration process, achieve sustainable economic and social development, and bring about lasting peace in the Great Lakes Region.

Mr. President,

China is ready to work with the international community to continue its contribution to the early attainment of peace, stability and development in the Great Lakes Region. China will remain committed to strengthening regional peace-building, actively participating in UN peacekeeping operations in the region, providing military assistance, and supporting regional countries in advancing the peace process. China will remain committed to strengthening capacity building for regional development and providing, as best it can, assistance in infrastructure, agriculture, and health care to through development for peace. China will remain committed to promoting the forging of regional partnerships, helping countries in the regional strengthen people-to-people and cultural exchanges, building partnerships based on mutual trust and mutual collaboration through culture for peace.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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