|Remarks by H.E. Ambassador HU Dingxian at the Hand-over Ceremony of Food Donation by the Government the People's Republic of China to the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho|
Hon. Mr. Mohlabi Tsekoa, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations,
H. E. Mr. Imadeldin Salih, the WFP Country Director,
Mr. J.T. Metsing, Principal Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Master of the Ceremony,
Senior Government Officials,
Officials from the World Food Program,
Friends from the news media,
Ladies and gentlemen:
It gives me great pleasure and honour to attend this Ceremony and on behalf of the Government of the People's Republic of China to hand over a batch of food aid to the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho through the World Food Program. This is another vivid embodiment of the goodwill and friendship of the Chinese Government and people for the Lesotho Government and people, and an example of good cooperation and partnership between China and the International Organization in strengthening food security in African Countries. First of all, I wish to thank Director Salih and the WFP Lesotho Office for their hard work and wonderful arrangement to make this program happen, and to thank Hon. Minister Tsekoa for his presence to receive this donation on behalf of the Lesotho Government. With the joint efforts from all three parties, a total of 738 metric tons of maize meal and 572 metric tons of corn soya blend are now stored in the warehouse, and ready to be distributed to various places around the country.
China and Lesotho have enjoyed friendly and cooperative bilateral relations over the past years. As a true and reliable friend of Lesotho, China always supports the endeavor of the Lesotho Government in dealing with the challenge of food security and the reduction of poverty. The Chinese Government has sent several agriculture experts to Lesotho in teaching and helping local farmers in growing mushrooms, which has achieved good results. Last year witnessed unusual torrential rainfalls and severe floods in Lesotho, which caused heavy damage and losses in many areas, posing a big threat to the food security of Basotho people. In response to the disaster, the Chinese Government decided to donate the food aid to the Government of Lesotho. And I sincerely hope that this donation would serve to relieve the disaster, and make contributions to the strengthening of food security here in Lesotho.
Just now, Director Salih mentioned that the donation will go to the Nutrition and School Feeding Programs. I believe that with these two Programs being successfully implemented, a lot of school children and vulnerable groups including patients infected with HIV/AIDS, and the pregnant women will enjoy better nutrition, better health as well as better lives.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Last year, the worst drought in 60 years struck northeast Africa, causing widespread famine. China shared sympathy with the disaster-hit countries and people and swiftly extended its helping hands to the affected millions of African brothers and sisters by providing emergency food aid and food assistance in cash with a total worth of RMB443.2 million. It is the largest sum of foreign food aid provided by the Chinese government since the founding of New China. In addition, China has been committed to helping African countries to strengthen their food security capacity building. China and African countries have conducted extensive cooperation in agriculture for many years. Taking agriculture as a key area of cooperation, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation has launched a number of initiatives to support the agricultural development of Africa, which has made important contributions to promote food security in African countries. China also cooperates with Africa in infrastructure construction, technology exchange and transfer, human resource training and other areas through the bilateral channels and within the UN framework. In the future, China will try its best to help African nations to improve food security.
China will, as always, continue to work with Lesotho to tackle difficulties, strengthen cooperation and realize common development. As the Chinese Ambassador to Lesotho, I would spare no effort to further enhance the exchanges and cooperation in various fields between our two countries and deepen the mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese people and Basotho people.