Mali: to move forward quickly towards the full implementation of the peace agreement [fr]
Mali - Statement by Mr François Delattre, Mr François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council – 11 April 2018
I wish to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Annadif, for his most informative briefing and his exemplary commitment. On behalf of France, I wish to reiterate our full support to him and all his team. I wish also to thank the Permanent Representative of Sweden, Olof Skoog, for his briefing and for his work at the helm of the sanctions Committee. I wish also to warmly welcome the presence here of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mali, Mr. Tiéman Hubert Coulibaly, and to thank him for having travelled to New York to take part in our work.
I wish to begin my statement by hailing the memory of the three Blue Helmets who perished last week during attacks against the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). France pays tribute to the memory of these warriors for peace. Their sacrifice serves as a reminder of how MINUSMA is evolving in a difficult environment and of the key role it plays in promoting the implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali, and in protecting the Malian people from those who oppose it and in so doing resort to actions that include terrorist attacks and criminal acts. France, engaged alongside the United Nations peacekeeping Mission, is aware of this threat and itself has suffered therefrom, as two French soldiers perished on 21 February last.
Today’s meeting is of particular importance with respect to follow-up to the implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation. The members of the Security Council made a collective commitment, in their statement to the press of 24 January last, to seize the opportunity to take stock of the implementation by the parties of the commitments made in the framework of the priority actions timeline adopted in January. At that point, a decision was also taken that additional measures would be considered under the sanctions regime if the commitments taken were not met by the set deadlines.
We welcome the efforts made by the Government, since the most recent meeting of the Council on Mali (see S/PV.8163), to foster the necessary consensus on the electoral process and restore the Administration’s presence in central Mali. The Prime Minister’s visit to Kidal in particular marked a restoration of high-level political leadership and cooperation as concerns the implementation of the Peace Agreement, nearly four years after the last visit by a comparable level of authority to the region.
Unfortunately, it is clear that in the wake of the deadline set by the Malian parties themselves under the timetable of priority actions, a large part of the commitments made have not yet been implemented. The resulting delays are far from being inconsequential on the ground for a number of reasons. Given the lack of progress, all of the achievements to date and the very relevance of the Agreement itself could end up being called into question; the significant electoral deadlines scheduled for the coming months make it all the more necessary and urgent to move forward on various aspects of the Agreement, which is imperative to ensure the success of the elections to come; and there can be no lasting stability in the Sahel absent the full implementation of the Peace Agreement.
In terms of substance, it is still the same measures whose implementation by the Malian parties we are awaiting. It is particularly urgent that progress be achieved, specifically in the areas of decentralization and security. Specifically, I am thinking in terms of the operationalization of interim authorities, the establishment of territorial police and progress in the process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, and that of security sector reform. France also encourages Malian authorities to pursue work dedicated to combating impunity. It calls on all parties to halt human rights violations.We were pleased to note the adoption a few days ago of a new road map, at the Prime Minister of Mali’s initiative, announcing the implementation of measures awaited for by Malian parties according to the revised schedule. We can only support that initiative and hope for its success, which includes the upcoming holding of regular meetings of the Agreement Monitoring Committee in Bamako. But let us be clear: the new road map, which is unfortunately not the first, cannot let us forget the fact that the commitments undertaken this past January failed once again to be respected, while the Malian people, the countries of the region and the entire international community has been waiting for their implementation for almost three years.
In that regard, the responsibility of the Council — pursuant to the very terms of the peace agreement — involves taking steps necessary to encourage the parties to honour the commitments that they made within that framework. The adoption of resolution 2374 (2017), in September 2017, which established a sanctions regime concerning Mali, was a first step in that direction. Today, subsequent delays in the implementation of the agreement and the failure to realize commitments according to agreed deadlines are driving us to take additional measures. We no longer have the time to wait. In the coming weeks, together with its Council partners, France will undertake the task of identifying those obstructing the implementation of the peace agreement, through which their names will be determined. We intend to focus initially on a list of officials who are undermining the implementation of the agreement on the ground, in particular through their collusion with terrorist groups and trafficking activities. All Malian stakeholders must be aware that the Security Council takes their word as their bond with regard to upholding their commitments.
Despite the challenges it faces, MINUSMA remains today an essential instrument for ensuring the stability of Mali, in addition to the other security forces present on the ground. Its role in supporting the electoral process will be decisive in the holding of presidential elections in July and August. Fully aware of the difficult environment in which the Mission is deployed, France reiterates its call on all Member States to ensure that the Mission is provided with the capabilities and equipment commensurate with the mandate that the Council has conferred upon it. In our view, that is an absolutely crucial point, especially in terms of strengthening the safety of peacekeepers on the ground, which is the priority of all of us. For example, the installation of early-warning devices in all of the Mission’s camps in the case of an indirect attack would undoubtedly allow us to save lives, as was tragically illustrated by the recent attacks on the Kidal and Aguelhok camps, which were only a few days apart. That is one of the areas in which we must act urgently together with the Secretariat so long as there are existing technical solutions that are moreover available to us in the short-term.
We believe that the strategic review currently being conducted by Ellen Margrethe Løj also affords us a valuable opportunity to improve the performance and outcomes of the Mission. We fully support that process, which will be advantageous for all of us. We will consider with interest the recommendations to be made by the Secretary-General on the work under way, in view of the upcoming renewal of the Mission’s mandate. We especially hope that they will enable us to continue to move forward towards a better sequencing of the mandate’s tasks so that MINUSMA can contribute as effectively as possible to the stabilization of Mali, including in the northern part of the country, while supporting the Malian armed forces in conjunction with the Joint Force of the Group of Five for the Sahel (G-5 Sahel), Operation Barkhane and the engagement of the European Union. We will also take that opportunity to work towards achieving increased clarity with regard to the role and responsibilities of each element of the security architecture deployed in Mali and the region.
Lastly, France welcomes the signing of the technical arrangement between the United Nations, the European Union and the G-5 Sahel set out in resolution 2391 (2017) in record time. The next report of the Secretary-General on the G-5 Sahel Joint Force will provide a new foundation for responding to legitimate demands for support by the G-5 Sahel countries in terms of security and development. We will do that by considering the pace of the Joint Force’s operationalization on the ground and by maintaining consensus on this issue within the Council.
Today it is imperative to move forward quickly towards the full implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali. It is that message of urgency and shouldering responsibility that we want to convey to all Malian parties today. We hope that it will bring about the awaited leap forward by those who hold the key to move Mali and the region towards lasting peace and stability. France will continue to stand with all those who want to advance in that direction.