UN / MALI

Preview Language:   Original
28-Aug-2023 00:03:42
The Head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali said that the mission “leaves Mali, but the United Nations remains there through its agencies, funds, and programs.” UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / MALI
TRT: 03:42
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: FRENCH / ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 28 AUG 2023, NEW YORK CITY / FILE

SHOTLIST:

FILE – NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, exterior, United Nations Headquarters

28 AUG 2023, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, Security Council
3. SOUNDBITE (French) El-Ghassim Wane, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Mali/ Head, United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA):
“MINUSMA has had a tangible impact on the ground and provided invaluable support to the authorities and people of Mali in what has proven to be one of the most challenging peacekeeping operations ever deployed by the United Nations. MINUSMA leaves Mali, but the United Nations remains there through its agencies, funds, and programs. Their work has never been more vital than it is today.”
4. Wide shot, Council
5. SOUNDBITE (English) El-Ghassim Wane, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Mali/ Head, United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA):
“Closing a Mission built over a decade within a period of six months is a complex and ambitious endeavor. In concrete terms, it entails the repatriation of 12,947 uniformed personnel, the separation of 1,786 civilian staff, the repatriation and/or relocation of a load of approximately 5,500 sea containers of Contingent and United Nations Owned Equipment and almost 4,000 vehicles, as well as the closure and handover of 12 camps and one temporary operating base to Malian civilian authorities.”
6. Wide shot, Council
7. SOUNDBITE (English) El-Ghassim Wane, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Mali/ Head, United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA):
“The Mission is making all reasonable efforts to complete environmental remediation and removal of hazardous materials prior to returning premises to the authorities, in spite of serious time constraints and the progressive reduction of the security umbrella under which we are operating.”
8. Wide shot, Council
9. SOUNDBITE (French) El-Ghassim Wane, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Mali/ Head, United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA):
“We repatriated 1,096 people in uniform, and 79 containers of materials were transferred out of Mali. A further reduction in uniformed personnel is expected at the end of September. Regarding civilian personnel, in accordance with the Staff Regulations and United Nations Staff Regulations, 291 civilian staff (including United Nations Volunteers), i.e., approximately 33 percent of our civilian workforce, will be separated by 30 September 2023.”
10. Wide shot, Council
11. SOUNDBITE (English) El-Ghassim Wane, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Mali/ Head, United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA):
“Unsurprisingly, the Parties have adopted diverging positions on the fate of the camps that will be liberated by the Mission.”
12. Wide shot, Council
13. SOUNDBITE (French) Issa Konfourou, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Mali:
“I would like to remind you that the Government of Mali does not envisage extending the departure from the Mission beyond December 31, 2023.”
14. Wide shot, Council
15. SOUNDBITE (French) Issa Konfourou, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Mali:
“After more than ten years of crisis, with particularly disastrous consequences for our populations, the people of Mali want to end this conflict. This requires the Government to favor sustainable domestic solutions. The government is skeptical of external recommendations, sometimes in good faith, and others with various agendas have maintained or sustained the crisis instead of resolving it sustainably.”
17. Wide shot, Council

STORYLINE:
The Head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA) said that the mission “leaves Mali, but the United Nations remains there through its agencies, funds, and programs.”

He added, “Their work has never been more vital than it is today.”

Addressing the Security Council today (28 Aug), El-Ghassim Wane, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Mali, said, “MINUSMA has had a tangible impact on the ground and provided invaluable support to the authorities and people of Mali in what has proven to be one of the most challenging peacekeeping operations ever deployed by the United Nations.”

He also said, “Closing a Mission built over a decade within a period of six months is a complex and ambitious endeavor. In concrete terms, it entails the repatriation of 12,947 uniformed personnel, the separation of 1,786 civilian staff, the repatriation and/or relocation of a load of approximately 5,500 sea containers of Contingent and United Nations Owned Equipment and almost 4,000 vehicles, as well as the closure and handover of 12 camps and one temporary operating base to Malian civilian authorities.”

According to the Special Representative, the task is made even more challenging by various other geographical, climate, logistics, and infrastructure constraints.

To this, he noted, one should add the severe risks associated with the prevailing security situation.

The drawdown and closure of the Mission is unfolding in two phases through 31 December, followed by the liquidation period, which will begin on 1 January 2024.

The first phase began on 17 July, focusing on the closure of the smallest and furthest outposts from our super camps in Timbuktu, Gao, and Mopti and shrinking the Mission’s geographical footprint by 25 percent.

On 25 August, this phase was completed with the closure of our Menaka base.

Earlier this month, the temporary operating base in Ogossagou, in the Bandiagara region, and the camps in Ber and Goundam, in the Timbuktu region, were successively closed.

The departure of MINUSMA from each of these camps was accompanied by the signing, with the designated civilian representative, of the Malian authorities of documents that attest to the state of the vacated camps and the fulfillment of the Mission’s environmental obligations.

In this respect, Wane emphasized, “The Mission is making all reasonable efforts to complete environmental remediation and removal of hazardous materials prior to returning premises to the authorities, in spite of serious time constraints and the progressive reduction of the security umbrella under which we are operating.”

Additionally, negotiations are underway to finalize an overarching Framework Agreement that will spell out the obligations of the two Parties in line with relevant United Nations instruments and policies.

Wane said, “We repatriated 1,096 people in uniform, and 79 containers of materials were transferred out of Mali. A further reduction in uniformed personnel is expected at the end of September. Regarding civilian personnel, in accordance with the Staff Regulations and United Nations Staff Regulations, 291 civilian staff (including United Nations Volunteers), i.e., approximately 33 percent of our civilian workforce, will be separated by 30 September 2023.”

The second phase of the downsizing will run until December 15.

It will focus on closing 6 bases (Tessalit, Aguelhok, and Kidal in the North; Douentza and Mopti in the Center; and Ansongo in the East).

The personnel, equipment, and materials concerned will be redeployed to Timbuktu, Gao, and Bamako camps before being repatriated to their respective countries.

This phase will be extremely difficult, according to the Special Representative.

In addition to logistical and security constraints, the closure of MINUSMA also has a political dimension.

“Unsurprisingly, the Parties have adopted diverging positions on the fate of the camps that will be liberated by the Mission,” stated Wane.

In this regard, the transitional authorities informed the Mission that they intend to take over all the MINUSMA camps after their evacuation, emphasizing that the Peace Agreement does not abrogate the State's responsibility to assume control of its territory to protect populations and ensure security.

The signatory Movements, on the other hand, in particular the Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA), invoked the security arrangements of 2014 to object to the deployment of the Malian armed forces in the areas they control and insist on the need to operate under the Peace Agreement.

Issa Konfourou, Permanent Representative of Mali to the United Nations, reminded the Council that his government “does not envisage extending the departure from the Mission beyond December 31, 2023.”

He also said, “After more than ten years of crisis, with particularly disastrous consequences for our populations, the people of Mali want to end this conflict. This requires the Government to favor sustainable domestic solutions. The government is skeptical of external recommendations, sometimes in good faith, and others with various agendas have maintained or sustained the crisis instead of resolving it sustainably.”
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