Mali: implementation of Peace Agreement must remain the top priority [fr]
Statement by Mr François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 16 January 2019
I thank the Assistant-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Ms. Bintou Keita, for her informative briefing. I also would welcome the presence at this table of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Mali, Her Excellency Ms. Kamissa Camara. Her participation in this meeting is an important gesture, and we appreciate it.
The implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali must remain the top priority. It is more than ever our guiding compass. Resolution 2423 (2018) establishes a clear framework for this by defining a specific list of measures whose implementation is expected no later than six months after the inauguration of the Malian President. That deadline will fall on 4 March, which is only a few weeks away. We are all involved in that task, so the time to act is now.
France welcomes the first concrete progress that has been made in recent weeks in implementing the measures identified in resolution 2423 (2018). I am thinking in particular of the establishment of new interim authorities; the launch of an accelerated disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process for over 1,400 combatants; the holding of a second high-level workshop towards the establishment of a reconstituted army, special anti-terrorist units and territorial police; and the establishment of a sustainable development fund to ensure the development of the northern part of the country. I am also referring to the establishment of a weekly consultation framework among the Malian parties, which illustrates the restoring of a climate of trust and would not have been possible only a few months ago. Lastly, I am thinking of the establishment of a working group on the involvement of women in the peace process, which demonstrates the increased attention to that important objective. Those various developments are all signals that, in our view, reflect a sincere political will to step up the pace of implementing the agreement. There is therefore a positive momentum. It is now important to build on it quickly enough for Mali to be ready for the March deadline.
However, let us make no mistake. There is still much progress to be made in order to meet the expectations established by the Security Council, and there is very little time left. It is therefore our responsibility to continue to support the implementation of the agreement by mobilizing all the tools available to the international community to encourage the parties to move forward. That is precisely the purpose of the sanctions adopted by the Council on 20 December last year. In accordance with the provisions of the agreement, they seek to show that there is a specific price to be paid by those who obstruct the peace process on the ground, in particular through their links with terrorist groups or trafficking activities. Such actions have serious consequences whether in the form of a travel ban or, more broadly, complete exclusion from the peace process. France has therefore decided, in coordination with several of its partners, to suspend all contact with the listed persons until the measures taken against them are lifted, for which precise criteria have already been defined. We are also ready to propose the adoption of new listings in due course if the Council’s expectations are not met.
The continuing deterioration of the situation in the centre of the country is a source of growing concern. The almost daily attacks by terrorist groups, as well as the dangerous increase in intercommunal tensions, pose a serious threat to the civilian population and the stability of the region. Restoring a State presence and authority in that area, in all its forms, is at the heart of the response to the current crisis. We welcome the recent visits by President Keita and the Prime Minister to the region and their hard work in that regard. It is essential that such efforts continue and increase.
It is also crucial that the international community provide all necessary support to the Malian Government in its integrated strategy to regain control of the centre. In particular, we expect the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to continue to support the efforts undertaken within its means and in the context of its mandate. In that regard, we believe that it is necessary in the coming weeks to reflect on the appropriate balance between the resources available to the Mission, its mandate and the needs that exist in the central part of Mali.
Finally, France would like to emphasize 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 objective of supporting the implementation of the agreement. The support provided by Operation Barkhane to MINUSMA during the attack on the Ber camp, the cooperation among the various security forces in combating improvised explosive devices and protecting access and, on another level, the operational and logistical support regularly shared among the various actors illustrate the great importance of that partnership approach. Resolution 2423 (2018) sent a clear message in that regard: every entity must play its individual role within the limits of its mandate, but all must coordinate and support one other on the ground in the prevailing difficult circumstances. Let us not forget that the enemies of peace have not waited for us to start cooperating among themselves.
As we collectively expressed in the adoption of resolution 2423 (2018), the urgency today is to fully implement the peace agreement. The six-month period for implementing the priority measures identified by the Council will very soon come to an end. Everyone in Mali must be aware of that and should fully mobilize in order to succeed. France will issue a press statement to that effect at the end of this meeting.