Remarks by Ambassador Harold Agyeman, Ghana’s Representative to the UN, at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on the situation in Mali

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August 28, 2023

Madam President,

I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the members of the A3 namely, Gabon, Mozambique, and Ghana. We welcome the multi-layered and integrated plan of withdrawal articulated by the Secretary-General for the transfer of MINUSMA’s tasks by 31 December 2023 and thank SRSG El-Ghassim Wane for his insightful briefing on the current situation. We also thank Ms. Beatrice Abouya, the civil society briefer for her perspectives.

Madam President,

As we very well know, the withdrawal of MINUSMA from Mali is taking place within a very short window and against a challenging and dynamic backdrop. Incidents of terrorist attacks against civilians and security personnel persist; the implementation of the Algiers peace agreement remains challenging; misinformation and disinformation campaigns continue to complicate efforts to stabilize communities, protect civilians, and provide humanitarian support to vulnerable populations. We also accord with the observation made by many that the current situation in Niger would further complicate the security and humanitarian situation in the region and the liquidation process of MINUSMA.

We nonetheless remain confident of the United Nations capacity to follow through its objectives for a safe, orderly, and coordinated withdrawal of the Mission, while preserving a long-term UN engagement in the country and mitigating the risk associated with the spill-over effects of the crisis into neighboring countries. We appreciate the system-wide priority that has been accorded the drawdown and withdrawal process. We encourage the full cooperation of the Malian Transitional authorities as required under the SoFA and resolution 2690 (2023) in support of the withdrawal of the Mission. In furtherance of the objectives of the withdrawal plan, the A3 would like to highlight four key points.

First, we welcome the phased implementation of the drawdown, which consolidates uniformed personnel and equipment in key camps, to be followed by their repatriation. We commend the efforts already made in repatriating 695 military and 24 police personnel as of 14 August and, we stand in solidarity with the four peacekeepers, who have sustained injuries during the course of the withdrawal process. Despite the challenges in the theatre, we believe a withdrawal by 31 December 2023 is still possible. We however note the growing tensions that have emerged between the transitional government of Mali and the signatory movement, la Coordination des Mouvements de l’Azawad as well as the uneasiness of several signatory movements. We urge the transitional authorities to renew their engagement with the signatory movements to preserve the ceasefire agreement and commitment to the peace process.

In light of the gaps that the withdrawal of MINUSMA would create, we urge an early solution for mechanisms for monitoring the ceasefire and monitoring and reporting on human rights. We emphasize that the stability, unity, and integrity of Mali depends on the transitional authorities’ capacity to carry all significant segments of the population along, in an inclusive manner. We also emphasize the important responsibility of the International Mediation mechanism to hold the peace agreement in place by sustaining dialogue and coordination between the transitional government and the signatory movements. This is essential in preserving consensus and mitigating any adverse impact that MINUSMA’s withdrawal may create on the further implementation of the peace agreement. In this context, we note the concerns regarding the continuation of the measures decided by the Council for listing individuals who impair the peace process in Mali. We are however of the view that in the present challenging security and political situation, the measures provide a necessary safeguard for the peace agreement.

Secondly, the A3 notes the Malian transitional authorities’ resolve to assume, after the withdrawal, responsibility for tasks such as the political transition and elections; support to the peace process; restoration and extension of State authority and support to the stabilization of the Centre regions; and the protection of civilians and human rights. We also note the transitional government’s determination to restore constitutional order in accordance with the timelines agreed with ECOWAS, and underscore the need for the further strengthening of national institutions. We welcome the United Nations country team’s readiness to work with the transitional government to support its efforts, in line with the UNSDCF and look forward to the good offices role of UNOWAS for the peace process. While recognizing the important role that UNOWAS and the UN country team can play in filling gaps, we note their need for adequate logistical, operational, and funding support. We particularly encourage funding towards electoral support and the UNDP Basket Fund to support the successful completion of the political transition and a return to constitutional order, which would establish the basis for sustainable peace and stability in Mali.

Thirdly, in noting the challenges that the withdrawal of MINUSMA may pose for the Protection of Civilians, even as the Malian authorities assume full charge of their primary responsibility, the A3 re-echos the Secretary-General’s appeal for flexibility in the transfer of residual funds as well as increase in donor funding to better support the authorities and the UN agencies to contain the multi-dimensional challenges Mali faces. We remain equally worried about the deteriorating humanitarian situation arising from increasing incidents of terrorist attacks which has increased the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance to over 5 million persons. Concerned by the widening funding gap, we urge donors to help meet $751.5m target required for the humanitarian response plan. We also encourage support to relevant Malian institutions to tackle other aggravating factors on the humanitarian situation such as climate change.

Lastly, it is important, as we contemplate the legacy of MINUSMA, to prioritize measures that would sustain momentum in tackling the root causes of the crisis in Mali, including the governance and development deficits. We see value in enhancing support for the work of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) at this critical time, including funding support to enable it to empower critical agents of change, such as women and the youth, to contribute to national decision-making, conflict prevention and peaceful elections, among others. The role of civil society organizations also continues to be essential in support of efforts to address the political, security and humanitarian situation.

In concluding, the A3 encourages the full cooperation of the Malian transitional authorities in authorizing and facilitating ground and air transport as well as customs clearance for a smooth and timely withdrawal of MINUSMA.  Gabon, Mozambique, and Ghana affirm our common support for the plan laid out by the Secretary-General in the transfer of MINUSMA’s task and believes that the timely provision of logistics and funding would be a critical element for the successful execution of the plan. We reaffirm our respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Mali and underscore the need for all stakeholders to support the execution of these essential tasks.

I thank you!

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