Renewal of MINUSMA mandate is essential to the stability of Mali [fr]
Mali/MINUSMA - Statement by Mr. Antoine Michon, Political coordinator of France to the United Nations - Security Council – 14 June 2018
I thank the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations for his very enlightening statement. I also welcome the presence around the table of the Malian Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and thank him for having made the trip to New York in order to participate in our work.
As the Secretary-General emphasized in his report (S/2018/541), support for the implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali must remain the foremost priority of us all in Mali. Three years after its signing, it is clear that many of the commitments made have still not been implemented. Such delays, which are partly due to the lack of political will on the part of the stakeholders, are worrying, first, because they increasingly call into question the very relevance of the Agreement and, secondly, because there can be no lasting stability in Mali, and more broadly in the Sahel, without the full implementation of the Agreement. It is therefore urgent that significant progress be made.
In that context, we noted with satisfaction the mobilization of the Prime Minister of Mali and the progress made in recent months. The Secretary-General’s meeting with the parties during his visit to Mali last month affirmed that positive momentum, which must now be continued and built on. For us, in the short term, that means strengthening the mixed units of the Operational Coordination Mechanism in northern Mali, ensuring the effective functioning of the local authorities and initiating the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process. We will follow those various elements closely over the coming months.
The responsibility of the international community, in accordance with the actual terms of the peace Agreement, is to take the necessary measures to encourage all the parties to meet their commitments. In that regard, the first report of the independent observer is a useful contribution. We encourage him to continue his work by issuing regular reports that identify the obstacles, define the responsibilities and make recommendations that will enable us to move forward. All Malian actors must also be aware that the Security Council is closely following the implementation of their commitments. In that regard, France has started work on identifying those responsible for hindering the implementation of the Agreement on the ground. Failure to implement the commitments contained in the most recent road map would lead us to having to broaden the scope of individuals that could be subject to sanctions measures.
France fully shares the concerns expressed over the situation in central Mali, which calls for a strong response from the Malian authorities with the full support of the international community and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). It is crucial that such a response be based on a balanced approach that combines action in the area of security and development, governance and human rights efforts. In that regard, we are deeply concerned about the allegations of various cases of human rights violations in the context of counter-terrorism operations undertaken by the Malian armed forces. Such allegations must be promptly investigated and the perpetrators prosecuted if they are proven. The recommendations made by MINUSMA in the context of the human rights due diligence policy must also be fully implemented. The support that MINUSMA can provide to the Malian armed forces and the Joint Force of the Group of Five for the Sahel is, of course, linked to that.
The upcoming electoral cycles over the next months, in particular the presidential elections, will be a significant milestone for Malian democracy. It is especially important that the presidential election be conducted in a peaceful, credible and transparent way. The actions of the Government to enhance the credibility of the electoral process at the technical level are in the right direction. Those efforts must be continued and accompanied by the resumption of a constructive dialogue between the Government and the opposition. In that regard, the good offices of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the representative of the African Union on the ground should be welcomed. Lastly, the right to peaceful protest and freedom of expression must be respected and all actors must show the necessary restraint throughout the electoral cycle.
Given those many challenges, the renewal of the MINUSMA mandate for another 12 months is absolutely essential to the stability of Mali and the region. The recommendations of the strategic review, which are included in the Secretary-General’s report, provide us with an opportunity to ensure that the resources that we are collectively harnessing in Mali are used in the most effective way possible. We want to make the best use of them.
In that context, France will approach the renewal of the mandate with several objectives: first, promoting a clear and realistic mandate with a limited number of priorities that are adapted to the situation; secondly, doing the utmost to ensure that the Mission has the necessary capacities to discharge its mandate and encourage every effort to reduce its security exposure through targeted and adapted measures that are coordinated with all the stakeholders on the ground; thirdly, encouraging the Mission to better communicate the specific nature of its mandate and its work to the local actors, while recognizing that it is part of a broader security architecture, where each force has its added value and shares the same goal, namely, support for the implementation of the peace Agreement; fourthly, emphasizing the need for a balanced approach, particularly in response to the increasing threat to the central part of the country, in support of the Malian authorities; and lastly, fifthly, recalling the importance of the good offices role of the Mission for the smooth running of the upcoming electoral cycles.
Finally, more broadly, France is convinced that support for the implementation of the peace Agreement must continue to remain the strategic objective of the Mission. That strategic objective must be pursued within the framework of a partnership approach among Mali, the Council and the United Nations and on the basis of reciprocal commitments, the implementation of which will be regularly monitored. Against that backdrop, we fully support the Secretary-General’s recommendation for a pact for peace, to be concluded with the Malian authorities following the forthcoming presidential elections.
Everyone should bear in mind that maintaining a mission as large and exposed as MINUSMA in its current configuration is not sustainable without substantial progress on the peace process track. We must therefore move forward together, in a responsible manner, in order to ensure its success. France’s unwavering commitment can be counted on in that regard.