Mali: a positive dynamic but still much progress that needs to be made [fr]
Mali / MINUSMA
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United NationsRetour ligne automatique
Security Council – 19 October 2018
I thank the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Jean-Pierre Lacroix, for his very enlightening briefing. I also welcome the highly appreciated presence of Ambassador Konfourou in the Council, who will deliver a statement on behalf of Mali.
I wish to begin my statement by conveying our wishes for a speedy recovery to the five Chadian soldiers of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) who were seriously injured when their vehicle passed over an explosive device yesterday in northern Mali. I also pay tribute to the memory of Corporal Abdelatif Rafik, who died under accidental circumstances on Wednesday in Gao during Operation Barkhane. His death brings the number of French soldiers who have died in Mali since 2013 to 23. Finally, our thoughts go out to all the Malian and regional soldiers and MINUSMA Blue Helmets who have lost their lives in recent months while combating terrorism and promoting peace in Mali and the Sahel. Their sacrifice must be heeded by all of us in our reflections on our obligations.
The election that led to the reappointment of President Keita was an important moment in Malian democratic life. I wish to commend the decisive role played by MINUSMA, both through its good offices and its logistical and security support, to ensure that the election was conducted in satisfactory conditions, as has been acknowledged by the Council and all observers present on the ground. It is now essential that all Malian political actors move forward, recognizing the results of the election and working together for the stabilization of the country. The announced postponement of the legislative elections for a few months, following a favourable opinion on the part of the Constitutional Court, is also welcome. That should make it possible to implement, in the meantime, several institutional reforms that will have a direct impact on those elections.
The implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali must remain the top priority. The signing of the pact for peace, just a few months after the adoption of resolution 2423 (2018), is good news. That document notes, in particular, the commitment of all Malian parties and international actors to the swift, full and inclusive work of implementing the agreement. It is now up to us to support that dynamic by mobilizing all of the tools available to the international community to encourage the parties to move forward. In particular, we hope that the Committee established pursuant to resolution 2374 (2017) concerning Mali will continue its work in the coming weeks by visiting the country itself, which will enable it to make contact with all of the Malian parties, as well as with various international mediation actors. In that regard, I would like to commend the work carried out by Sweden as Chair of that Committee.
But let us make no mistake — there is still much progress that needs to be made, and urgently. Resolution 2423 (2018) provides a clear framework in that regard by defining a list of priority measures resulting from the road map agreed by the Malian parties. Its implementation will be examined in a report of the Secretary-General to be submitted every six months once the Malian President assumes power. That period has already begun and merits our full engagement. It is necessary that we act now.
The past few weeks have witnessed the start of a positive dynamic that we must welcome, encourage and strengthen. I am referring in particular to the announcement of the upcoming launch of an accelerated disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process for Operational Coordination Mechanism combatants, the ongoing finalization of the northern regions development zone, the granting of greater roles for women within the new Government, and the establishment of a weekly consultation framework among the various Malian parties under the leadership of Minister Lassine Вouaré. Those are all indications that illustrate for us the will of the parties to step up the pace of the implementation of the Agreement. Continued progress is clearly needed, especially with regard to the institutional component and the areas of justice and reconciliation. Once again, however, a positive dynamic has been initiated, and it is essential that it bear results in the coming weeks.
As the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations recalled earlier, the continuing deterioration of the situation in the centre of the country continues to be of great concern to us. The attacks of recent days illustrate the gravity of the threat weighing on that part of Mali and, more generally, the Liptako-Gourma region. We commend the actions taken by the Prime Minister in addressing that issue and his recent visits to the region to encourage the return of a State presence and authority in the centre. It is imperative that the international community fully support those efforts so that the Malian State has the necessary additional resources at its disposal to regain control of the centre.
The redeployment of the Malian armed forces in that area is one part of the equation. Tools have been put in place in MINUSMA’s mandate to support that undertaking since June 2017. It is important that the Malian authorities and the Mission make better use of them. We also expect MINUSMA to continue to implement the new directions in its mandate with regard to the protection of civilians with the means at their disposal, while avoiding compromising the strategic priority of supporting the implementation of the agreement.
France emphasizes the fact that the stabilization of Mali and the region can be achieved only through the complementary and coordinated action of the various security forces on the ground, which all share the same goal of supporting the implementation of the Agreement. The support provided by Operation Barkhane to the Malian armed forces within the framework of a counter-terrorist operation within the three-border region this week exemplifies the advantages of such an approach based on partnerships. On another level, the same applies to the operational and logistical support regularly shared among the various actors. Resolution 2423 (2018) sent a clear message in that regard, according to which each entity must play its individual role within the limits of its mandate, but all must coordinate and support one another on the ground in the prevailing difficult circumstances. Let us not forget that the enemies of peace have not waited for us to begin cooperating among themselves.
As we collectively expressed in the adoption of resolution 2423 (2018), the urgency now lies with the implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation. The six-month period for implementing the priority measures identified by the Council has begun. The Malian parties must now concentrate all their energies to that end. France will issue a press statement to that effect at the end of this meeting.