ADDIS ABABA — China and African Union (AU) member countries have reiterated their joint commitment to strengthening cooperation in peace and security through the successful implementation of the China-Africa Peace and Security Initiative.
African Ministers of Foreign Affairs held a high-level dialogue in Addis Ababa late on Feb 6 with Chen Xiaodong, Assistant Foreign Minister of China, and other Chinese officials on the implementation of the commitments made by African and Chinese leaders during the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) last September.
The African foreign minister have gathered in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa as part of the 34th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council, which is underway from Feb 7 to 8 at the headquarters of the AU.
Chen, who is also the Chair of the Chinese Follow-up Committee of the FOCAC Summit, noted during the high-level gathering that Chinese and African leaders, during the “successful” FOCAC Beijing Summit last September, have agreed to jointly build a closer China-Africa community with a shared future.
President Xi Jinping, at the Beijing FOCAC Summit, had announced a host of new measures to strengthen China-Africa peace and security cooperation, and reached important consensus with African leaders on launching the peace and security initiative, Chen said.
Noting 2019 as the first year of implementation regarding the major outcomes of the Beijing Summit, Chen said that the visit of China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi to several African countries and the AU headquarters last month had brought “important common understanding with African leaders on furthering China-Africa cooperation in the field of peace and security.”
“China hopes that the dialogue will create synergy in thinking and action between the two sides, put forward suggestions on how to implement the peace and security initiative, and build momentum for China-Africa peace and security cooperation,” Chen said.
The assistant foreign minister also stressed that “although the situation is improving, risks and challenges facing Africa’s peace and security cannot be overlooked.”
“Over the years, China has fulfilled its responsibilities as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Guided by the principles enunciated by President Xi Jinping for China-Africa relations, namely, sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and pursuing the greater good and shared interests, China has played a positive role in Africa’s peace and security affairs,” he said.
Chen also stressed China’s four major principles in its cooperation with African countries in the peace and security sector through “playing a fair, impartial and constructive role, helping Africa build up its own peacekeeping capacity, addressing the root causes as well as the symptoms, and pursuing cooperation for win-win results.”
“China’s efforts to safeguard peace and stability in Africa remain unchanged,” the assistant foreign minister affirmed, adding “China’s actions to participate in the peace and security affairs in Africa remain unchanged.”
China and Africa enjoy ever greater common language, common aspirations and common interests as new opportunities and challenges emerge under new circumstances, Chen said.
“There are new opportunities for us to step up cooperation on peace and security,” he stressed.
He also reiterated China’s readiness “to work with Africa to explore new dimensions for dialogue on peace and security policy and establish a China-Africa peace and security forum.”
The high-level dialogue, co-hosted by the FOCAC Summit co-chairs China and Senegal in partnership with the AU Commission, was attended by foreign ministers and representatives from 23 African countries, including members of the AU Peace and Security Council and the five countries in the Sahel region.
AU Commissioner for Political Affairs Minata Samate-Cessouma, who commended China’s support to Africa’s causes on the international stage, mainly at the UN Security Council, also affirmed Africa’s common position concerning collaboration with China in the peace and security arena.
“China has been actively supporting the work of the AU,” Samate-Cessouma said.
“Over the years, China has been actively supporting the AU’s mediation role in various conflicts in Africa, including the conflict in Sudan and South Sudan as well as the parties within South Sudan,” she said.
“There are many important roles and examples made by China,” Samate-Cessouma said, adding that “China has helped all sides to get back to the negotiating table.”
Senegal’s Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mame Baba Cisse also said that “China has been contributing to the peace building and security in Africa.”
Baba Cisse further stressed that China “has become a natural partner for Africa” in maintaining peace and stability in the African continent as well as overall development sectors.
Africa and China “have been engaged in win-win cooperation, and our partnership is based on sincerity, affinity, good-faith, and good results,” he said.
The two sides, who spoke positively of the outcomes of the dialogue, have also agreed that the high-level dialogue was an innovative step in strengthening peace and security cooperation between China and Africa.
The high-level dialogue among other things aimed at deepening communication and discussion on Africa’s peace and security situation, strengthening policy alignment in the sector, as well as building synergy between peace and security actions of China and Africa, and eventually realizes the commitments made by African and Chinese leaders.