Following is UN Secretary‑General António Guterres’ message, delivered by Maria Luiza Viotti, Chef de Cabinet, to the ministerial meeting on cooperation between China and Africa on matters before the Security Council, in New York today:
I bring you warm greetings from the Secretary‑General, for whom cooperation on peace and security in Africa is a priority.
Over the past decade, the partnership between Africa and China to promote peace and security across the continent has grown rapidly and in multiple ways through China’s engagement with Africa, Africa’s own initiatives and ever‑closer United Nations‑African Union cooperation, including with regional organizations. China increased its peacekeeping deployments to Africa, and peace and security on the continent was a priority during China’s presidency of the Security Council last November, with special emphasis on enhancing African capacities.
African countries, for their part, make up the largest regional group among troop- and police‑contributing countries to United Nations peacekeeping operations. This commitment sometimes involves great cost and sacrifice. By supporting African troop- and police‑contributing countries, China directly contributes to the Secretary‑General’s 2018 Action for Peacekeeping initiative. Results are already evident in the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan. This effort is also improving the safety and security of those who serve under the blue flag.
The growing partnership between China and African countries comes as African countries steadily reinforce their capacities across the peace continuum, from prevention to peacemaking to peacekeeping, underpinned by inclusive sustainable development. The African Union and its member States have achieved important milestones in their pursuit of higher effectiveness, self‑reliance and cooperation. The African Union Peace Fund has secured $124 million, the highest level of assessed contributions since its establishment in 1993. The African Union has adopted a far‑reaching initiative to “silence the guns” by 2020. And the African Union Mediation Support Unit and the FemWise Network of African Women in Conflict Prevention and Mediation are now operational to help defuse crises.
These developments have also facilitated the strengthening of the partnership between the African Union and the United Nations, based on the principles of mutual respect and African ownership. Our organizations are actively implementing joint frameworks on peace and security and on sustainable development, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Africa’s Agenda 2063. Africa, China and the United Nations are also cooperating on a number of specific situations before the Security Council.
The United Nations is partnering with the African Union and the continent’s subregional organizations on mediation efforts in the Central African Republic, Madagascar, Sudan, South Sudan and Guinea‑Bissau. In Mali, 421 Chinese military personnel serve in MINUSMA [United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali], one of our most challenging peacekeeping operations. Regionally in the Sahel, the Joint Force of the Group of Five remains an important part of a series of security responses to terrorism and violent extremism. As the Secretary‑General has said, the Joint Force needs the sustained financial support of the international community. China has consistently supported this view.
The United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel and the African Union strategy in the region have been aligned. The Ministerial Coordination Platform co‑chaired by the African Union and the United Nations enhances collaboration and coordination between the organizations in response to the challenges of the region. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, momentum for positive change is felt across the country, even as security and humanitarian challenges persist in some provinces, including in the east. During his recent visit, the Secretary‑General agreed with President [Félix Tshilombo] Tshisekedi that the Congolese security and defence forces and MONUSCO [United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo] should work together more effectively to tackle foreign armed groups.
International attention on the Horn of Africa remains high following the transitions in Ethiopia and Sudan, and partners are keen on supporting deeper political and economic cooperation. These positive developments must be anchored in solid institutional foundations if the positive trajectory in the region is to be safeguarded and sustained. Continued international support is crucial.
I thank China for having brought us together today and for its long‑standing commitment to Africa. In the spirit of “African solutions to African problems”, the United Nations remains a steady partner of African countries in pursuing their aspirations, changing the narrative and building a future of prosperity and peace. We look forward to further cooperation toward these goals.