UK Statement by Ambassador James Kariuki at the UN Security Council meeting on Mali

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MINUSMA’s withdrawal takes place amid a deteriorating context of terrorist violence and human rights violations

28 August 2023

Thank you, President. I thank SRSG Wane for his briefing and I pay tribute to the courage of all UN personnel in Mali, who continue to face constant threats. I also thank Ms Abouya for sharing her valuable perspective with us today.

The complexity of MINUSMA’s withdrawal is unprecedented and takes place amid a deteriorating context of terrorist violence and human rights violations and abuses, including an upward trend in conflict-related sexual violence.

The Council mandated MINUSMA to conduct a safe and orderly withdrawal, with the objective of completing this process by 31 December 2023. We continue to believe that the Council should stand ready to revise this timetable if needed. A rushed withdrawal that imperils the 2015 Algiers Agreement and puts peacekeepers’ lives at risk will have security implications for the whole region. The recent ceasefire violations in Ber demonstrate the pressing need for meaningful, structured dialogue between all parties to the Peace Agreement prior to the handover of MINUSMA sites, in particular in Kidal region.

President, the UN continues to have a formal and critical role in supporting the Peace Agreement in Mali. We welcome the Secretary-General’s transition plan, which is an important step to help guide efforts to preserve the legacy of the mission and its achievements over the last decade.

We call on the UN to redouble its efforts to support meaningful consultations and mediation between all parties to the Peace Agreement, and we urge all parties to engage in dialogue in good faith. To deliver the UN’s ongoing role in support of the peace process, the UK supports the continued presence of a UN entity dedicated to supporting an inclusive peace process in Mali.

President, we strongly urge the Transitional Authorities to engage with the UN’s proposals for ongoing support, for the benefit of the Malian people. The UN should accelerate consultations with Mali on a detailed strategy for the future of UN support to the Peace Agreement and other key tasks, including delivering on the political transition and the protection and the promotion of human rights.

Finally, as we’ve said before in this Council, the Russian mercenary group Wagner is directly linked to human rights atrocities in Mali, including the systematic use of conflict-related sexual violence. As illustrated by recent events in Russia, they are part of the problem, not the solution in Mali and beyond.

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