A Chinese envoy stressed the importance of leveraging the role of African countries in solving African problems.

“We should fully trust Africa and have confidence in African countries’ ability to take initiatives in solving their own problems,” said Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations.

All countries should follow the norms of international relations and the principles of respect for each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs, he told the UN Security Council in a debate on peace and security in Africa.

Conflict prevention should be carried out on the basis of respect for the will of the country concerned and its ownership of the issue, he said.

Zhang also stressed the need to leverage the unique roles of regional organizations such as the African Union.

The international community should remain committed to addressing African issues through political and diplomatic means, he said. “We must make good use of Chapter VI of the UN Charter and the role of the UN good offices. We must avoid invoking Chapter VII of the Charter at every turn.”

Chapter VI is about the peaceful settlement of disputes while Chapter VII provides for coercive measures to deal with threats to international peace and security.

The mediators and the parties to a conflict should form a sense of a community of shared future, tackle difficult problems through dialogue, promote security through cooperation, and respect and accommodate each other’s legitimate concerns, said Zhang.

He also asked for efforts to cultivate a culture of peace and seek solutions by finding common ground and putting aside differences.

The international community should attach great importance to addressing the root causes of conflict in Africa, he said.

“We must put socio-economic development at the forefront, and prevent and settle social risks through development so as to lay a solid foundation for lasting stability.”

Countries should help Africa achieve development through practical measures, he said.

China is willing to dovetail its Belt & Road Initiative with the African Union’s 2063 Agenda, the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the development strategies of African countries to help African countries strengthen connectivity, enhance their development capabilities, and promote peace through inclusive development.

China will continue to stand firmly with Africa in the continent’s endeavours for peace and development, he said.