6 April 2017 - Peace in Mali is a crucial challenge for us all [fr]
Mali - Statement by Mr François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations Security Council - 6 April 2017
I would like to welcome the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mali, His Excellency Mr. Abdoulaye Diop, whose presence is important for all of us and for our joint efforts in Mali.
I would also like to thank the new Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Jean-Pierre Lacroix, for his very enlightening briefing and to take this opportunity to extend our warmest wishes for success in his new duties.
Almost two years after the signing of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali, and despite the real progress made, Mali is in a difficult situation and remains subject to the threat of terrorist groups. The alliance of terrorist groups that was announced a month ago under Al-Qaida in the Sahel, under the command of Iyad ag Ghali, reveals a macabre competition between Daesh and Al-Qaida in Africa.
In that context, it is more than ever urgent that the Malian parties fully implement the peace agreement at two levels.
First, at the political level, it is urgent that the Malian parties fully implement the agreement.
After long months of stagnation, real progress has been made recently by the Government and the signatory armed group to fulfil their commitment under the peace agreement. This includes the installation of some interim authorities in the north of the country, the launch of mixed patrols in Gao, and the convening of the conférence d’entente nationale, bringing together all the actors concerned.
But these achievements remain fragile and insufficient nearly two years after the signing of the agreement. On the ground, the populations of northern Mali have to see any noticeable improvement in their living conditions. The interim administrations are not yet operational, the fight against impunity remains insufficient, and the redeployment of the Malian State in the north has made little progress, as has the reintegration of veterans. We ask the signatory parties to set their mistrust aside and demonstrate their sincerity in implementing the peace agreement.
In their successive reports on Mali, Secretaries-General Ban Ki-moon and Guterres have recommended to the Security Council to impose sanctions against those who hinder the implementation of the peace agreement. We believe this approach to be essential in order to remove the numerous obstacles of the peace process and to encourage all the Malian actors on the ground to choose the side of peace. The creation of a Security Council sanctions regime should also target those, be they signatories to the agreement or not, who engage in trafficking and block any peace that may be contrary to their interests.
In a complementary way, the international community must reinforce its mobilization in support of the implementation of the peace agreement. France reiterates in particular its full support for the good offices of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Mali, Mr. Annadif. We also welcome the role played by Algeria as leader of the international mediation and support his unwavering commitment.
At the security level, it is urgent that the Malian parties also fully implement the peace agreement.
The time squandered by the Malian signatories to the agreement is time won by the terrorist groups. The spread of terrorist attacks in central Mali is proof of that.
Contrarily, the redeployment of the presence of the Malian State in the north, as provided for in the peace agreement, would restore the people’s hope for peace. The concrete implementation of the peace agreement must demonstrate to all, and especially to unemployed youth in the north, that the voice of terrorism and narcotraffickers is a dead end.
In the meanwhile, the repeated attacks against the Malian security forces in the north places the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and Operation Barkhane on the front line against terrorist groups. On behalf of France, I would like to salute the courage of the Blue Helmets in Mali, who are carrying out their work in very difficult conditions.
MINUSMA, which is the only United Nations peacekeeping operation facing a terrorism environment, needs to be strengthened. MINUSMA must urgently have the staff and equipment approved by the Security Council last June in resolution 2295 (2016). We hope that new troop-contributing countries will commit to Mali during the upcoming special meeting on MINUSMA force generation, which is to take place in New York on 8 May.
With its robust mandate and unprecedented technological mans, MINUSMA is a groundbreaking operation for the United Nations. Without the presence of MINUSMA and Operation Barkhane to support Mali, terrorist groups would be able to reconstitute a safe haven that could host terrorists from throughout the world.
On its part, the French Operation Barkhane continues to provide support to MINUSMA in instances when peacekeepers are severely threatened. Launched in 2014 at the request of the States of the Sahel, Operation Barkhane is now deployed over territory larger than the territory of Europe from Lisbon to Moscow. It includes 4,000 military personnel, drones, aircraft, helicopters and hundreds of vehicles. One hundred and fifty terrorists have been put out of operation, with several tons of munitions and weapons seized or destroyed by Operation Barkhane in 2016.
France welcomes the initiative of the Five States for the Sahel to set up a joint force in order to counter the expansion of the terrorist threat at the regional level — for the first time with a focus on securing border areas. We also welcome the support that the Secretary-General intends to accord to that project, in coordination with the States of the region and the African Union. This counter-terrorism force is to become part of the overall peace process in Mali. Only the full implementation by the Malian parties of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali will ensure lasting peace. In addition, the force should complement the efforts of MINUSMA.
Since the Group of Five for the Sahel was established (G-5 Sahel), armed forces from Mali, the Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso have regularly carried out joint cross-border military operations, for which Operation Barkhane has provided operational support.
As you have recalled, Madam President, for which I am personally grateful, a French soldier died yesterday in Mali in the course of just such an operation close to the border with Burkina Faso. He is the nineteenth French soldier to die in the Sahel since January 2013. Our determination remains intact — and I would say even stronger than ever — in helping the countries of the Sahel to build up their capacity to counter the terrorist threat. We hope that the Security Council will support the G-5 Sahel in their undertakings.
The Malian parties have a historic responsibility so that the people of Mali can at last enjoy lasting peace. For its part, the Security Council must step up its effort to resolve the crisis, which threatens international peace and security. Peace in Mali is a crucial challenge for us all.