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Vietnamese FM attends UNSC debate on peace and security in Africa

Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son on May 19 attended the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)’s open debate on peace and security in Africa, at the invitation of State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi of China, which holds the UNSC Presidency in May.

The teleconferenced debate, themed “Addressing root causes of conflict while promoting post-pandemic recovery in Africa”, also saw the presence of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Chairman of the African Union (AU) Faki Mahamat, UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner, and senior representatives of UNSC member states.

In their remarks, the UN Secretary-General, the AU Chairman, and the UNDP Administrator noted that African people are being severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and called on the UN and the international community to actively carry out activities assisting Africa, especially enhancing the healthcare system and vaccine accessibility.

They emphasised the need to promote support for post-pandemic recovery and strengthen cooperation between the UN and the AU to boost peacekeeping operations, thereby maintaining stability in the region and creating conditions to realise developments goals towards achieving the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Africa’s Agenda 2063.

The UNSC’s member states voiced concerns over the pandemic’s serious impacts on the socio-economic, political, humanitarian, and security situation in Africa.

They urged stronger cooperation to prevent and resolve conflicts in Africa, particularly the root causes of conflict, via national reconciliation, industrialisation, agricultural reform, sustainable development, poverty reduction, and inequality addressing.

Highlighting the role of peacekeeping missions which have helped maintain peace and stability in Africa, they appealed for increasing support for African countries to access vaccines, including via the COVAX Facility.

Speaking at the event, Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son highly valued the unmatched potential of Africa but also pointed out that centuries of slavery and colonialism have dragged the continent into poverty, under-development and conflicts that are still prevalent today.

He called for continued international support and assistance for Africa to achieve prosperity and peace via regional initiatives like Agenda 2063.

Peace, stability and security are the prerequisites for addressing the current challenges, he affirmed, urging the full implementation of UNSC Resolutions 2352 and 2565, particularly their calls for a global ceasefire, and continued support for Africa's Silencing the Guns initiative.

It is also essential to focus on building trust and reconciliation among communities, promote meaningful participation of women and youth in peace processes, underdevelopment and social inequality addressing, post-conflict peace building and post-pandemic recovery, according to Son.

The minister also underlined that close partnership between the UN and the regional and sub-regional organisations in Africa, particularly the AU, has undoubtedly served as an important framework for the provision of financial, humanitarian and technical assistance to conflict-affected countries in Africa.

On the occasion of President Ho Chi Minh’s 131st birth anniversary (May 19), Son quoted the late Vietnamese leader as saying: “We rejoice at Africa's victories, and it pains us to see Africa's sufferings.”

Vietnam has always stood shoulder to shoulder with the African peoples in the common endeavours for sustainable peace and development, he stressed, adding that it has sent peacekeepers to conflict zones in the Central African Republic and South Sudan, shared development experience and expertise through bilateral and tri-partite cooperation, and offered medical supplies and face masks to Africa in support of the fight against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.