January 27, 2023
I deliver this statement on behalf of the members of the A3 namely, Gabon, Mozambique, and Ghana. We welcome the quarterly report of the Secretary-General on Mali as well as his internal review report on MINUSMA which is currently being reviewed. We thank SRSG El-Ghassim Wane for his insightful briefing and for his fervent engagement in helping to find durable solutions to the situation in Mali. We also thank Ms. Aminata Cheick Dicko who spoke on behalf of Association Protection Sahel for her perspective and welcome the presence in this meeting of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mali.
The A3 appreciates the positive contribution of MINUSMA to the stability of Mali and, as we mark, this year, MINUSMA’s decade long presence in Mali, we urge support in consolidating the gains made in helping the brotherly people of Mali to address the myriad of challenges facing their country. We understand the continuing concerns of Mali regarding the security situation in the country and believe that with the support of the Council and the cooperation of the authorities of Mali, the implementation of the mandate of MINUSMA, which remains relevant, would help the Malian people to achieve their aspiration for a peaceful, stable and united Malian nation. In this regard, we would closely engage the Secretary-General and the other members of the Council on the best configuration for MINUSMA following the present review, and look forward to the joint Military and Police Capability Study to be carried out during this quarter by the Department of Peace Operations.
While acknowledging the gains made on the political track, our quest for lasting peace for the people of Mali should continue unabated considering the complex political challenges, heightened insecurity and the deteriorating humanitarian situation that persist in the country. On the Political situation, the restoration of constitutional order remains a critical enabler for peace in Mali. In this regard, we welcome the submission of the draft constitution as well as the adoption of the electoral law, which form part of the broader reforms required to take forward the political transition and fulfil the Algiers Peace Agreement. We, however, encourage enhanced outreach among stakeholders who have expressed some concerns about the ongoing reforms to ensure inclusivity and national ownership of the process, and urge support for the work of the Commission established to monitor the timetable for Political and Institutional Reforms to help achieve that goal. We call on all the signatories to the Peace Agreement to remain engaged in the implementation of the Agreement, including the resolution of the DDR processes. We also underscore theimportance of adequate funding for the success of DDR process which forms part of the conditions for the return of peace and security in Mali and the region.
We reaffirm our support for the decisions taken by the Authority of Heads of State of Government of ECOWAS at its 61st and 62nd ordinary sessions, and encourage international support, where required, for the national processes in realising the March 2024 electoral timeline. We welcome the improvement of relations between Mali and its neighbours and appreciate the diplomatic efforts that led to the release of 46 Ivorian soldiers. We hope that improving regional solidarity would help in the coordination of security arrangements that would inure to the benefit of Mali. Concerning the security situation, we express our deep concern about the unabated attacks by terrorist groups on military and civilian targets, including through the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). We strongly condemn all such attacks and express our condolences and sympathy to all the families of the victims of terrorism in the region. We remain concerned by the limited State presence in the Centre and North of Mali and the impact that this has had in assuring the security of the civilian populations who are captive to the activities of the terrorist group. We commend the important role that MINUSMA has played in maintaining presence in areas with little or no State presence and note the impact that the withdrawal of international counter-terrorism partners and their assets is having on MINUSMAs capacity to stretch its resources to more distant locations.
We encourage the Malian authorities to work with MINUSMA to urgently address the issue of mis-information and dis-information which threaten the safety of the Mission’s personnel and undermine their impact on the ground. We, therefore, hope that this Council can converge on the Secretary General’s recommendations, contained in his internal review report, for adopting innovative communication strategies to enhance the Mission’s role in tackling the complex security situation. Beyond MINUSMA’s presence, we underscore the useful role played by regional mechanisms in helping to assure regional security, including the G5 Sahel Joint Force, the Accra Initiative, and the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF). While we note the augmentation of Mali’s security capabilities, we encourage regional joint effort to undertake the required counter-terrorism operations until such a time that Malians’s security personnel are able to take full charge of the security situation in the country. It is our hope that the upcoming independent report of the high-level panel led by former President M. Issoufou of Niger would leverage the best elements of the regional initiatives, in proposing a robust response to the security challenges of the Sahel. We underscore our position for adequate, sustainable and predictable funding for these regional mechanisms who in essence are acting on behalf of the international community. We urge coordinated action in addressing the spill-over effect on the Sahel of the lingering crisis in Libya, and in managing the threat that the return of Foreign Terrorist Fighters and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons pose to the stability of Mali.
The deteriorating humanitarian situation resulting from the heightened insecurity as well as other aggravating factors, including climate change, food insecurity and the dire socioeconomic conditions in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic are of great concern. The aggravating factors, including the climate menace, does not only affect the environment but also has the propensity of escalating conflict in the country and region. The closure of thousands of schools and the increasing incidents of sexual exploitation of women and girls, among other vices, are regrettable and undermine the fundamental human rights of the victims. We encourage the Malian authorities to continue their efforts in clamping down on the violations of the rights of its citizens, including through speedy investigations and the prosecution of the culprits. We also re-iterate the SG’s call for an increase in funding support from donor partners and the international community to help meet the needs of the over 5.3 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.
Lastly, it is important to prioritize efforts in tackling the root causes of instability in the country that cannot be dissociated from regional dynamics. Addressing the instability would include investing more in women and youth and enhancing their participation in governance processes as well as the creation of employment opportunities to enable them to contribute meaningfully to the country’s development. We also underscore the critical role of the PBC, including its involvement in climate-related peace and development interventions as well as in the promotion of community-based dispute resolution mechanisms.
In concluding, we reiterate our solidarity with the people of Mali and reaffirm our respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Mali. We believe that a business-as-usual approach in restoring lasting peace in Mali would not be helpful. What is required is a multi-dimensional and multi-stakeholder approach characterized by strong political will among all the stakeholders including the host authorities, UN, AU, ECOWAS and donor partners. Now more than ever, we all need to make good our commitment to help restore lasting peace for the people of Mali.
I thank you for your kind attention!