8376th Security Council Meeting: Situation in Mali

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19-Oct-2018 01:54:40
Successful elections, new peace pact in Mali foster hope for stability despite spread of extremism across Sahel, peacekeeping chief tells Security Council at 8376th meeting.

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Despite insecurity and violent extremism spreading across Mali’s borders, the United Nations peacekeeping chief cited reasons for hope, including Mali’s successful presidential elections, the signing of the new Pact for Peace and a drop in peacekeeper deaths, as he briefed the Security Council today.

Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, updated the 15-member Council on recent developments, including the re-election of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, in a largely peaceful vote in August. “The smooth holding of the elections demonstrates the political maturity of the Malian people,” he said, urging the country’s political actors to take advantage of this success to further promote political inclusion. The implementation of the Pact for Peace — signed on 15 October by the Government, United Nations and other stakeholders — could lend a new momentum to Mali’s overall peace process.

Yet, he expressed concern about delays in implementing the 2015 Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali and continued insecurity in the centre and north of the country — where hundreds of civilians have been killed in recent months. This situation aggravates Mali’s humanitarian challenges and risks spreading frustration throughout the population. “Insecurity is spreading fast” both inside and across Mali’s borders, he stressed, citing an intensification of violent extremism in neighbouring Burkina Faso. In that regard, he warned that “we are all running against the clock” and cautioned that rising violent extremism threatens not only the region but also international security as a whole.

As Council members took the floor, many welcomed the newly signed Pact for Peace while emphasizing that it must be seen as a complement to — not a replacement for — the 2015 Peace and Reconciliation Agreement. Some also hailed efforts by the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and the joint force of the Group of Five for the Sahel (G‑5 Sahel) to combat terrorism and organized crime, restore State authority across Mali and assist the Government in embarking on long-awaited institutional reforms.

Ethiopia’s representative said Mali is moving in the right direction, with the role of MINUSMA remaining crucial. Encouraged by progress made in implementing the peace agreement, he cited several examples, including the nomination of interim authorities at the district level and the adoption of a national security sector reform strategy. Adding that the new Pact for Peace will help accelerate the implementation of the Agreement, he agreed that MINUSMA’s support in restoring and extending State authority in the country’s north and central areas also remains critical.

Agreeing, France’s delegate said the international community must fully support the Government’s efforts to regain control of these areas, emphasizing that the MINUSMA mandate has included since June 2017 specific means through which it can support the Malian armed forces. Recalling that 23 French soldiers have died in Mali since 2013, he also noted that a positive new dynamic has emerged in recent weeks, such as the start of a disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process.

Offering suggestions on the way forward, the representative of the Netherlands said that enacting long-awaited Government reforms in Mali is now crucial, as citizens deserve institutions they can trust. Among other things, the State authorities must prevent, publicly denounce, investigate and prosecute perpetrators of human rights violations. Emphasizing that Mali’s continued instability — as well the impact of its challenges related to human trafficking, the drug trade and organized crime — are now being felt across the Sahel region and in Europe, he warned that “Malians are seeing too few tangible results” of their national Peace and Reconciliation Agreement. Among other things, he also called on partner countries to utilize the relevant sanctions regime to punish any actors who obstruct the peace process in Mali.

Mali’s representative, thanking the United Nations for its support in assisting with the Government’s successful electoral process, acknowledged an existing impatience over the slow implementation of some elements of the peace agreement. However, these delays are not due to a lack of will among Malian parties. Progress has suffered from the slow establishment of real trust between actors. Spotlighting recent strides, he said the progressive redeployment of the Malian army is allowing for the much‑awaited return of national administration and basic services in localities previously under control of armed groups. Meanwhile, the Government created a mechanism for unity, proposed a development framework and is prioritizing a large-scale response to security and humanitarian needs in the north.

Also speaking were the representatives of Côte d’Ivoire, United States, Sweden, Kazakhstan, Poland, Russian Federation, Kuwait, China, Peru, Equatorial Guinea, United Kingdom and Bolivia.

The meeting began at 10:04 a.m. and ended at 11:56 a.m.
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