16 June 2016 - MINUSMA :"We want to increase the troop ceiling of 2500 men"
MINUSMA, Syria, Western Sahara - Remarks to the press by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - 16 June 2016
Just a few words on MINUSMA because the meeting we are about to have with the Security Council, with M. Annadif, with the Prime Minister of Mali, Mr Keita, whom I had the pleasure of meeting yesterday, is a very important meeting, for at least three reasons:
Number one, we’ve seen recently positive developments in Mali, with the agreement concluded on Tuesday between the government and the rebels, in particular. This is a key step forward but it’s now crucial that all parties speed up the implementation of the Peace accord because we have seen as you know too many delays on too many fronts.
Number two, it’s important because on the security front, as we all know, MINUSMA is facing an extremely challenging environment, maybe the most challenging of any Peacekeeping operation. It is confronted with a resilient terrorist threat, and of course that is the second reason why this meeting is so important.
And number three, this is why we are working hard to move forward on the recommendations of the Secretary-General regarding the renewal of MINUSMA. In our view, this force needs to be strengthened and its mandate clarified and made more robust.
Against this backdrop two goals, two main goals in a nutshell:
Number one, to strengthen Minusma’s support to the implementation of the Peace Agreement, the peace Accord, and to build on the recent positive steps to create a strong and positive momentum in this respect;
Number two, as I said, to strengthen MINUSMA’s capacities. It is also about enhancing the security of peacekeepers of course, a key goal, a key priority for France. We also intend to increase the troop ceiling and we plan to propose an increase of over 2000 soldiers and about 500 policemen.
And as we speak, we are consulting with our colleagues, our partners within the Council, with TCCs, which is very important, and needless to say with the Malian authorities. And we will soon circulate a draft proposal in this respect. So this is a key meeting, a very important meeting for MINUSMA.
Q: Can I ask you a question about another subject? The Commission of Inquiry on Syria has come out with a report, and it is very definitive in saying there has been genocide against the Yezidis, the genocide is ongoing against the Yezidis, and as the two States involved in Syria are signatories of the Rome Statute, it’s the Security Council that is the body that can refer to the International Criminal Court. Will you have discussions about that?
A: Today you mean?
Q: At some point soon.
A: I think we will. This is a very important conclusion obviously, of the Commission. This very important report clearly shows the systemic barbarity of the terrorist group. And I am sure, that yes, we will discuss this within the Security Council, and you know France’s longtime commitment in this respect. So, that’s about Daech.
The other thing, and I will get back to that maybe later in the day, is about the cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access in Syria. Obviously we are not there yet and quite frankly the double-dealing of the regime is breathtaking. Its promises are methodically proved hollow. If you look at the cessation of hostility: Aleppo was until a few hours ago under a barrage of fire. We all know that the truce that was concluded was just for a few hours anyway, and a hospital supported by Mèdecins du Monde, Doctors of the World, was destroyed on June 14th, it’s the fourth hospital that has been bombed since the beginning of June. The restrictions to humanitarian access continue day after day. So for the regime, let me speak frankly about it, it’s not only about violating the cessation of hostilities, it’s also about violating its obligations under international law. It’s about exploiting the agreement as a smokescreen to methodically continue its offensive and massacres in complete impunity. And pardon my French, but this is a shame.
Q: On Western Sahara, the AOB, what do you think?
A : Well it’s a bit early, because it’s a bit later in the afternoon and we have many other issues to discuss until then. But, regarding Western Sahara we hope we have come to a positive momentum. It remains to be confirmed, it’s up to the SG to say, but that’s what you asked me so I am telling you what I think. I think we are about to confirm a positive momentum. Merci.