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Vietnamese FM calls for supporting Africa’s "Silencing the Guns" initiative

VGP - Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son has called for continued support for Africa’s Silencing the Guns initiative in his statement at the UNSC open debate on "Peace and security in Africa: Peace and security in Africa: addressing root causes of conflict while promoting post-pandemic recovery in Africa" held on May 19.

May 19, 2021 8:00 PM GMT+7

The following is his full statement:

Mr. President,

I thank you and the Chinese Presidency for convening this important meeting. I am grateful to Secretary-General Guterres and other briefers for their insightful remarks.

Mr. President,

Africa has long been considered the cradle of human civilization, blessed with abundant resources and unmatched potentials. But centuries of slavery and colonialism have dragged the continent into poverty, under-development and conflicts that are still prevalent today. It is unfortunate that a continent as great as Africa accounts for more than half of the items on the agenda of the Security Council.

I therefore applaud Minister Wang Yi for bringing Council members together to deliberate ways to address the root causes of conflict while promoting post-pandemic recovery in Africa. Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has severely worsened Africa’s socio-economic prospects. It has exacerbated ongoing conflicts and undermined efforts to address the root causes of these conflicts. As global efforts are geared towards post COVID-19 pandemic recovery, Africa must not lag behind, or be left behind.

I share the view of Secretary-General Guterres that “Africa’s challenges can only be solved by African leadership”. That leadership has been reflected in Africa’s Agenda 2063, which aspires to achieve an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa driven by its own citizens. And that leadership is indispensable in the implementation of that Agenda, as well as the global 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

But Africa cannot and must not do it alone. International support and assistance are essential for Africa to achieve its aspirations and goals set out in Agenda 2063.

Allow me to underline three critical areas:

First, peace, stability and security are the prerequisites for addressing the current challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and achieve sustainable development in Africa. It is critical to fully implement Council Resolutions 2352 and 2565, particularly their calls for a global ceasefire and a durable, extensive and humanitarian pause. We must continue to support Africa’s Silencing the Guns initiative and efforts to strengthen confidence building and dialogue in conflict prevention and resolution.

Second, for peace to be sustained, much needs to be done to reduce poverty and inequality, address under-development, social injustice. It is also essential to focus on building trust and reconciliation among communities, promote meaningful participation of women and youth in peace processes, post-conflict peace building and post-pandemic recovery. And to cope with current and future pandemics and health crises, it is vitally important to strengthen Africa’s public health systems.

Third, close partnership between the United Nations and the regional and sub-regional organizations in Africa, particularly the African Union, has undoubtedly served as an important framework for the provision of financial, humanitarian and technical assistance to conflict-affected countries in Africa. The Security Council and the UN system should strengthen their engagement with the AU, to support the implementation of Agenda 2063 and ensure the effective deployment and operation of UN peace operations and peacebuilding initiatives.

Mr. President,

Special bonds have been forged between Viet Nam and the peoples of Africa. We share a history of struggle against colonialism, for independence and freedom. And as President Ho Chi Minh put it, we rejoice at Africa’s victories, and it pains us to see Africa’s sufferings.

This is why Viet Nam has always stood shoulder to shoulder with our African brothers and sisters in our common endeavours for sustainable peace and development. Vietnamese peacekeepers are present in conflict zones in the Central African Republic and South Sudan. Our development experience and expertise have been widely shared with African nations through years of bilateral and tri-partite cooperation. More recently, Vietnamese medical supplies and face masks have been sent to Africa in support of the fight against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. And as a member of the Security Council, we have worked tirelessly to help find ways to resolve conflicts and and sustain peace in Africa. We are committed to doing more to contribute to the goal of peace, security and development in Africa.

I thank you, Mr. President./.