Situation in Mali - 8765th Meeting of Security Council

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08-Oct-2020 01:28:15
Weeks after coup d’état in Mali, strong regional leadership, new transition plan show promise for country’s future, Special Representative tells Security Council.

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In the tumultuous weeks following Mali’s most recent coup d’état, robust regional leadership and a new transition plan have emerged as promising signs that the country can emerge from its “hellish cycle” of mistrust, violence and repeated Government overthrows, a senior United Nations told the Security Council today.

“There is every reason to hope for a successful political transition,” said Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Describing a situation long characterized by socioeconomic tensions and loss of trust in political actors, he said that resulted, in mid‑August, in the paralysis of Mali’s State institutions and ultimately the resignation of President Ibrahim Keïta. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) condemned the coup and instituted sanctions, demanding a civilian‑led transition.

In response, he said, Mali appointed former Defence Minister Bah N’daw as its new transitional President and adopted a charter for the way forward. ECOWAS lifted its sanctions, much to the relief of people across the region. A new Government was formed on 5 October, which regrettably does not meet the gender quotas required by Malian law. However, he expressed hope that those engaged in the transition — which, notably, include various signatory groups to the country’s 2015 Peace and Reconciliation Agreement — will fully implement the crucial political, administrative and electoral reforms laid out in the charter. “The ball remains in the court of the Malian people,” he said.

Following the briefing, delegates — who convened in the Security Council Chamber, divided by plastic screens, for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic — took the floor to express their views. Many praised the quick formation of a transitional Government, facilitated by decisive regional leadership and MINUSMA’s good offices. However, some speakers said the priorities outlined in the transitional charter must now be translated into concrete results. Others drew attention to Mali’s most urgent challenges — including ongoing terrorist attacks and high numbers of people in need of humanitarian assistance — while pointing out that they have only been exacerbated by COVID-19.

“This transition offers a new, fresh start for Mali,” said the representative of Germany. Expressing hope that the new authorities will not let down the Malian people, he urged them to address widespread grievances through more inclusive governance, justice sector reform and the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement. Reiterating his country’s support for Mali, he nevertheless voiced concern that — on the month of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a landmark global agreement on gender equality — Mali only appointed four women to its 25-person Government.

France’s representative was among those speakers who hailed recent diplomatic and good‑offices efforts in Mali, while welcoming the country’s new provisional structures and the release of individuals detained during the coup. The goal now must be a stronger and more legitimate democracy, inclusive of all constituents, including women and young people. Noting that the fight against terrorism must continue through the transitional period, he underlined the importance of cooperation between Mali and its international partners, called for renewed support for MINUSMA and emphasized the need for initiatives that fully respect human rights.

The representative of Niger — who also spoke on behalf of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Africa and Tunisia — expressed concern about the upheaval in neighbouring Mali. Echoing the importance of regional cooperation, institutional reform and counter‑terrorism as critical priorities for the transitional period, he called on all stakeholders to help restore constitutional authority. Noting that peace in Mali is critical to maintaining stability across the region and the world, he called for accelerated sustainable development, accountability for human rights violations and enhanced international support for the activities of the Group of Five for the Sahel (G5 Sahel) joint force.

Having listened to the Council members’ remarks, the representative of Mali pledged to faithfully relay them to his country’s new transitional leaders. While the recent period was indeed marked by turmoil, it prompted the launch of an inclusive dialogue process and a “candid diagnosis of the shortcomings of our system”. The new transitional charter now calls for the restoration of State authority, good governance, stronger education, legitimate elections, a pact for social stability and the full implementation of the 2015 peace agreement. Calling for more funding for the G5 Sahel force — including from the United Nations under Chapter VII of its Charter — he thanked ECOWAS for its decisive action and the international community for its support. “The people of Mali will never forget it,” he said.

Also speaking were the representatives of China, Viet Nam, Estonia, United Kingdom, United States, Belgium, Dominican Republic and the Russian Federation.

The meeting began at 10:08 a.m. and ended at 11:35 a.m.

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