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China backs extended UN role in Mali
June 26, 2014, 10:40 am

File photo of Malian soldiers guarding suspected Islamist extremists after throwing them in the back of the army truck in Gao, northern Mali [AP]

File photo of Malian soldiers guarding suspected Islamist extremists after throwing them in the back of the army truck in Gao, northern Mali [AP]

Amid fears that militants could step up attacks against international troops, China on Thursday said it supports an extension of the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.

“The Chinese side supports the extension of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA),” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying in Beijing.

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution on Wednesday to renew the mandate of the mission for one year.

“Security in Mali is still fragile,” warned the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson referring to the Mali government’s plea to the UN to deploy the rest of its promised 12000-member peacekeeping force.

Hua said China supports the mission to continue to play a role in maintaining peace and stability, pushing forward the political process and national reconciliation in Mali.

China has dispatched a 395-member peace-keeping force to the UN’s Mali mission, including 170 guards, 155 engineers and 70 medical troops.

“They (the Chinese peacekeepers) have won unanimous praise from the United Nations and the Malian government for a strict and earnest performance in their mission zone,” Hua said.

As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China will back resolving regional issues through peaceful means, said the Ministry spokesperson.

The security situation in northern Mali has deteriorated since the beginning of 2014 as Tuareg independence movements and the Malian government have seen little progress in implementing a truce agreement.

There have also been a rising number of attacks on international security forces. A suicide attack earlier this month at a UN camp in northern Mali killed four Chadian peacekeepers and wounded 10 others including six peacekeepers and four Malian soldiers, the country’s peacekeeping mission said.

UN Security Council members on Wednesday urged MINUSMA to expand its presence “in the north of Mali beyond key populations centers,” notably in areas where civilians are at risk.

Meanwhile, at an African Union Summit in Equatorial Guinea, South Africa is pressing for implementing the African Standby Force (ASF).

“The African capacity for immediate response to crisis needs to respond to our immediate challenges. We also need to address the root causes of conflicts in our continent,” said South African President Jacob Zuma on Thursday.

Russia had blamed the power vacuum created after the overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi for the current conflict between Al-Qaeda and the West in Africa.

“Those whom the French and Africans are fighting now in Mali are the (same) people who overthrew the Gaddafi regime, those that our Western partners armed so that they would overthrow the Gaddafi regime,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in February this year.


 TBP and Agencies

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