Abuja - Nigeria — The Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Toga McIntosh has called for China's sustained engagement with Mali for long-term stability and development following the security and political crises in the country.
Receiving the Chinese Acting Charge d'Affaires in Nigeria, Mr. He Meng, who called on him at the Commission's Abuja headquarters, Dr. McIntosh noted that Chinese involvement would be within the regional and international effort to protect Mali's territorial integrity, promote peace and stability and stimulate economic development.
"We will continue to count on your brotherly support for the stability of the country," he said, during the discussions which were dominated by developments Mali.
At an international conference in Brussels last week, donors pledged some US$4 billion in support of Mali reconstruction.
The Chief of Staff, ECOWAS Standby Force, General Hassan Lai, who attended the meeting briefed the visitor on recent military developments in Mali and solicited Chinese support for ECOWAS Member States whose troops are serving under the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) which will transform into a UN mission by July 2013.
The support is mainly in the areas of equipment to enable the troops satisfy the standards of UN missions.
In his response during the meeting on 15th May 2013, Mr. He mentioned various Chinese contributions to Mali including in infrastructure development noting that while a lot has been achieved in resolving the crisis there was still the need to address the root causes of the problem.
"We strongly support the efforts by the Transition Government and ECOWAS to promote unity and integration," he said, adding that China has not only contributed to efforts to resolve the Mali crisis, but also took the lead in resuming donor funded projects in support of communication, health and education services so as to improve the welfare of the population.
He said his country's relations with Mali and the rest of West Africa were not on donor/recipient terms, but as “friends and brothers.”