8547th Security Council Meeting: Situation in Mali

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12-Jun-2019 02:23:04
With peace process in Mali at critical stage, Special Representative eecommends extending mandate of Integrated Stabilization Mission at 8547th meeting.

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Extending the mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), which expires on 30 June, will enable it to consolidate political and security gains amid efforts to implement the 2015 Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation, the Organization’s top official in the Sahel nation told the Security Council today.

Presenting the Secretary-General’s latest report, which recommends no major changes to MINUSMA’s mandate or its overall strength, Mahamat Khatir Saleh Annadif, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of MINUSMA, said that while the peace process is at a critical stage, there is an opportunity to make progress over the next 6 to 12 months due to the determination of the signatories to the peace agreement.

Despite glimmers of hope — including the formation of a new Government and legislation favouring economic development in northern Mali — there can be no lasting peace without improvements in the security situation, he warned. That is especially the case in central Mali, where a 9 June attack on the village of Sobanou-Kou in Mopti region — in which at least 95 people were killed — is a reminder of the gravity of the situation.

At least 70 per cent of MINUSMA’s uniformed personnel now are in the field, protecting civilians and escorting convoys, he said, adding that a special unit is tasked to support the G5 Sahel joint force. He drew attention to several options set out by the Secretary-General aimed at adjusting the composition of the Mission’s civilian and uniformed components and making it more mobile.

The representative of France, which is militarily present in Mali with the Operation Barkhane counter-terrorism force, was among several Council members calling for renewal of MINUSMA’s mandate. Insufficient progress has been made along the road to peace and stability, he said, urging the Malian authorities to adopt an updated road map for implementing the peace agreement.

Declaring that “the status quo is not acceptable”, the representative of the United States said a fresh MINUSMA mandate must achieve pressure, balance, transition and performance. It should also aim to increase the Mission’s effectiveness, notably through the repatriation of poor-performing troops.

“It is disturbing that incidents of intercommunal violence are increasing, which have ravaged communities, displaced people and worsened the humanitarian situation,” said South Africa’s delegate. Any recalibration of MINUSMA must be based on a review of the security conditions and avoid a potential vacuum that risks exacerbating instability.

His counterpart from Equatorial Guinea concurred, describing security conditions in the Sahel as “nothing short of a tragedy” and the risk of inter-ethnic conflagration proof that a “tinderbox” situation is slipping out of hand. He called for strengthening MINUSMA’s mandate to defend itself while keeping up the pressure on terrorists and jihadists.

Agreeing that MINUSMA should continue to enjoy Council support, the representative of Côte d’Ivoire — underscoring the number of displaced persons and those at risk of food insecurity — expressed hope that responses to the humanitarian situation will be strengthened. Such action should aim at combating poverty and unemployment, both root causes of instability throughout Africa, he said.

The representatives of China and Germany, whose nations are among the leading troop contributors to MINUSMA, also expressed support for mandate renewal, with the latter favouring maintaining the current troop ceiling alongside increased cooperation with other security institutions.

Mali’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation told Council members that signatories to the peace agreement will next week discuss a new road map with revised timelines for implementation. On the recent attacks in Mopti region, he said more than 70 people have been detained for preliminary investigations and that the Government rejects impunity. He requested the Council to provide necessary resources to MINUSMA, calling for an increased presence of the Mission in central Mali to protect civilians and help end violence without creating a security vacuum in the north.

Also speaking today were representatives of the Russian Federation, Poland, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Belgium, Peru, Dominican Republic and Kuwait.

The meeting began at 3:01 p.m. and ended at 5:24 p.m.

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