13 June 2022
Thank you, Mme President.
I would like to thank Mr. El-Ghassim Wane, Special Representative of Secretary General (SRSG) and Head of United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) for his briefing. I also thank Ms. Sadya Toure for her insights. I welcome the presence of HE the Foreign Minister of Mali at today’s meeting. His presence is a testimony to the importance Mali attaches to our discussions.
- The increase in frequency of attacks against UN peacekeepers is of alarming concern. We condole the deaths of Egyptian and Jordanian peacekeepers, who lost their lives earlier this month in attacks against MINUSMA. Such attacks deserve this Council’s strongest condemnation and we call for swift action on part of all stakeholders for expeditious implementation of the provisions of the UNSCR 2589 (2021) to bring the culprits to justice and establish accountability of crimes against UN peacekeepers.
- The transitional roadmap is sine qua non for securing peace in Mali. The absence of clear understanding on the transitional road map to restore constitutional order is having an adverse impact on MINUSMA’s activities, as well as on the implementation of the 2015 Peace and Reconciliation agreement.
- We appreciate the ongoing engagement between ECOWAS and the Malian Transitional authorities and hope for a swift understanding on the transitional road map, including on a monitoring mechanism. This road map needs to be realistic and objective, factoring in genuine operational challenges.
- The continuous attack on the MINUSMA peacekeepers, civilians and security forces in Mali demonstrates the grave security threat posed by terrorist groups such as Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM) and Islamic State of Greater Sahara (ISGS), some of whom are inspired by the terrorist ideologies of Al Qaida and ISIL. These terrorist groups continue to expand their operations not only in Mali and the Sahel region, but also in other regions of the African continent.
- The tri-border region of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso has become a hotspot of terrorist groups due to the security vacuum created by the departure of international forces. This situation is further complicated by the lack of cooperation amongst the internal stakeholders of the Joint Force of G5 Sahel.
- In this context, let me submit following FIVE issues for consideration by this Council:
- i) First, the challenge of terrorism in Mali needs to be accorded high priority and treated with the same level of urgency as other global hot spots that face the scourge of international terrorism. In this regard, it is important that G-5 Sahel countries resolve their differences expeditiously to enable the Joint Force of G5 Sahel to resume its operations.
- ii) Second, the crisis in Mali has systemic multidimensional challenges. The long-standing shortcomings in administrative, constitutional and security set up cannot be addressed in the absence of political stability. We hope the agreement on the transitional road map will pave way for effective implementation of the 2015 peace agreement, including administrative and electoral reforms, leading to an inclusive election in the agreed timeframe. We need to encourage all Malian and regional stakeholders to take concerted action in this regard.
iii) Third, a lasting solution for Malian crisis can be achieved only through a Mali-owned and Mali-led process which is inclusive and representative. It is our hope that people in Mali will overcome the political crisis through an inclusive dialogue and democratic processes.
- iv) Fourth, the role of MINUSMA remains critical in helping Mali to achieve stability. The Mission continues to operate in an increasingly dangerous asymmetric threat environment. While we appreciate the efforts taken to address safety and security issues concerning UN peacekeepers, it is equally important not to burden MINUSMA with direct counterterrorism related operations. These counterterrorism operations need to be undertaken by the national security forces, which command a better understanding of terrain and local dynamics. In this regard, we note the recent efforts made by the Malian Security Forces in the past months.
- v) Fifth, we have also noted the concerns raised by MINUSMA with respect to the capacity gaps arising due to the withdrawal of international forces. The safety and security of peacekeepers is of utmost priority for us, and therefore, we see value in augmenting the troop ceiling, as proposed by the Secretary General in July 2021, so that MINUSMA is able to protect its personnel, convoys, and camps and deliver its mandate effectively. However, such augmentation should be supported by providing MINUSMA adequate additional resources.
- In conclusion, India continues to remain closely engaged with Mali, including in numerous capacity-building programs such as scholarships for higher studies and professional training in India, including in defense and security related areas. India remains steadfast in supporting the people of Mali in their quest for enduring peace, security and development. It is important that the international community stands in solidarity with the people of Mali in these challenging times.
I thank you.