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Chinese envoy urges countries in Great Lakes Region to promote peace, development
October 14,2020   By:Xinhua
UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 14, 2020 -- A Chinese envoy on Tuesday asked countries in Africa's Great Lakes Region to use the rare window of opportunity to promote peace and development.
 
The situation in the Great Lakes Region has stabilized and improved in recent years, presenting a rare window of opportunity for peace and development, said Dai Bing, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations.
 
The past six months saw a reinforcement of such positive momentum. The general elections in Burundi were held smoothly; the reform of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is progressing steadily; and relations between regional states are gradually improving, along with greater willingness to resolve disputes through peaceful means, he told the Security Council.
 
China calls on countries in the region to build consensus, strengthen cooperation, and turn challenges into opportunity with a view to achieving regional peace, stability, and common development at an early date, he said.
 
Countries in the region share a common destiny. The security risks of any one country may spill over to its neighbors, and the crisis of one country may become a regional challenge. COVID-19 and Ebola have highlighted the urgency of regional cooperation, he said.
 
Dai asked countries in the region to earnestly implement the 2013 Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the region.
 
Countries in the region should respect each others' sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. This is what is required for the implementation of the framework and a precondition for regional peace and stability. China encourages regional countries to continue to earnestly honor their commitments under the framework, enhance mutual trust and strengthen good neighborly relations, he said.
 
The international community should respect the leadership of regional countries in handling their own affairs and support regional and sub-regional organizations in playing their respective important roles, he added.
 
With political situations stabilized, the focus of governments has gradually shifted to national reconstruction and deepening reforms. The international community should create an enabling external environment and actively help regional countries strengthen capacity building and improve national governance, he said.
 
Dai asked the countries to attach importance to resolving the underlying issues leading to conflict.
 
Under-development is among the root causes of the prolonged turmoil and frequent conflicts in the Great Lakes Region. How to turn the advantage in natural resources into a driver of development rather than tensions or even conflicts is a problem that countries in the region need to consider together, he said.
 
China supports the countries in strengthening consultations and cooperation to jointly resolve the problem of illicit exploitation and trade of natural resources, while increasing investment in socio-economic development, creating more jobs and means of subsistence. China expects the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration program being formulated by regional states can contribute to this goal, he said.
 
Dai wanted the countries to work together to address security threats and humanitarian challenges.
 
Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought new complex factors to the region, resulting in severe challenges to its economic development. Strengthening regional cooperation and promoting regional integration can help inject impetus to the development and bring lasting stability to the region, he said.
 
The political and security situation in Burundi has improved significantly and no longer poses a threat to regional peace and security. The time is ripe to remove Burundi from the Security Council's agenda, he said.
 
As a good friend and partner of countries in the Great Lakes Region, China has always unswervingly supported them in advancing the peace process, actively participated in the UN peacekeeping operations in the region, and done everything in its power to help regional states in strengthening capacity building.
 
China is ready to work with the international community and continue to make unremitting efforts toward peace, stability, prosperity, and development in the Great Lakes Region, he said.
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