Statement by Nathalie Broadhurst, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United States, at a UN Security Council Briefing on Mali

The coming months will be decisive for MINUSMA future

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27 January 2023

Mr. President,

I wish to thank Special Representative El-Ghassim Wane and Ms Aminata Cheick Dicko for their briefings. I welcome the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mali.

The international community must pay all necessary attention to the situation in Mali and more broadly in the Sahel.

The strategic review on the future of MINUSMA that was presented by the Secretary-General gives us the opportunity to do so.

I would like to begin by emphasizing the quality and lucidity of the Secretary-General’s assessment in this strategic review.

I would remind you that MINUSMA is the primary instrument deployed by the international community in support of Mali, with the main objectives of implementing the Algiers Agreement, protecting civilians and supporting the transition.

The efforts and sacrifices made through MINUSMA are major: 13,000 peacekeepers, 180 of whom have lost their lives in ten years, and an annual budget of $1.2 billion.

However, as recalled by the Secretary-General, in Mali as elsewhere, a peacekeeping operation cannot be effective without credible political prospects and the sincere cooperation of the host country.

Yet, the Secretary-General notes that the implementation of the Algiers Agreement has stalled, restrictions in the political fields are very worrying for the continuation of the transition, the security situation has deteriorated considerably, and obstacles to the freedom of action and to the mandate of MINUSMA have seriously increased.

The Secretary-General also notes the presence of Wagner mercenaries, a presence known to all and recognized by the Russian authorities. Their presence is equated to regular abuses against Malian civilians and increasing obstruction of MINUSMA. This is not acceptable.

Mr. President,

On the basis of this very clear analysis, the Secretary-General draws useful conclusions for the future.

The Secretary-General lists parameters that are essential for MINUSMA to be able to continue its mission:

(i) the implementation of the Algiers Agreement, which remains the main instrument for lasting reconciliation

  1. ii) the continuation of the political transition, which must take place according to the timetable agreed with ECOWAS

(iii) the freedom of movement and action for all MINUSMA personnel and resources

  1. iv) Finally, the implementation of MINUSMA mandate in all its components, including the human rights component.

These parameters must be translated into tangible actions by the Malian transitional authorities.

This is all the more urgent given that several major troop contributing countries, as we have heard, have already decided to withdraw from MINUSMA, which is in danger of being progressively emptied of its substance, both externally because of the constraints it faces and internally because of the weakening of some of its critical capabilities.

Mr. President,

The coming months will be decisive for MINUSMA future. As the Secretary-General points out, the status quo is not an option.

All options are on the table.

These options will have to be discussed with all stakeholders: Malian stakeholders, Algeria as leader of the international mediation efforts, ECOWAS and the African Union, neighboring countries, troop contributing countries and donors.

The Security Council must approach this discussion with an open mind. The future of Mali and the future of MINUSMA depend on the transitional Malian authorities. Without clear commitments and tangible actions, it will not be possible to rebuild trust nor to restore a dynamic partnership.

Mr. President,

Beyond Mali, we must also rethink our collective approach in the Sahel. With this in mind, we have contributed to the work of the high-level panel on security and development in the Sahel, mandated by the United Nations and the African Union. When the time comes, based on the proposals that will be formulated, we must be able to deliver a response, at all levels.

Thank you.



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