UN Security Council Mission to Sahel : full support to the countries in the region [fr]
UN Security Council Mission to Sahel
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 27 March 2019
The Security Council undertook a mission to Mali and Burkina Faso from 21 to 25 March. It was co-led by the representatives of Côte d’Ivoire, France and Germany. The trip focused on support for the implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali, standing up the Group of Five for the Sahel (G-5 Sahel) Joint Force and following up on the situation in Burkina Faso. The terrible massacre at Ogossagou, which took place during our trip, deeply affected us all. Along with all of our interlocutors, we condemned that unspeakable attack in the strongest possible terms and expressed our full solidarity with all the people of Mali in connection with that very painful event.
We were accompanied by the Chair of the European Union Political and Security Committee, who had been invited to observe the visit as part of the cooperation between the Security Council and the relevant regional organizations involved in supporting the countries of the Sahel. The Chair of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, who had been similarly invited was unfortunately unable to participate because of conflicting commitments. In line with the arrangements on the ground, I shall focus in particular on the visit to Mali before giving the floor to my colleagues from Germany and Côte d’Ivoire, who will address, respectively, the Burkina Faso and G-5 Sahel segments.
The goal of our visit to Mali was to take stock of the state of the implementation of the priority measures identified in the most recent mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) against the backdrop of the Security Council’s ministerial-level meeting to be held on 29 March, which will be an opportunity to take important decisions on future international support for the peace process in Mali as well as the future of MINUSMA itself.
The Council met with President Keita, the Prime Minister and other Government officials, representatives of the opposition and members of civil society, notably women’s groups. We also took part in a meeting of the Agreement Monitoring Committee, which brought together the Malian parties and members of the international mediation effort. A meeting was also held with the various security presences in Mali and the Sahel referred to in resolution 2423 (2018). Lastly, a ceremony in tribute to the almost 200 MINUSMA peacekeepers who died carrying out their duty was held at the MINUSMA memorial in Bamako.
In the course of those meetings we took note of the significant progress made since the latest MINUSMA mandate renewal last June, namely, the holding of the presidential elections with the support of groups in the north of the country, the continuation of the decentralization process, the launching of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process and the issuance of the decree on integration criteria with regard to the future reconstituted army. We noted that that initial progress was the outcome of the renewed commitment on the part of the Malian parties following the signing of the Pact for Peace, the daily efforts made by the Prime Minister and Minister Bouaré, among others, and the establishment of a robust international framework for supporting the peace process centred around such tools as the benchmarks set out in 2423 (2018), as well as an independent observer and the sanctions regime. All interlocutors stressed the central role played by MINUSMA in their support for these efforts.
We also emphasized our own firm expectations in recalling, for example, that the Security Council sees the continuation of the international community’s exceptional commitment to Mali only within the framework of a true implementation of the peace agreement. We therefore regretted that several priority measures set out in resolution 2423 (2018) were not implemented by the March deadline, in particular with respect to the effective integration of 1,000 combatants into the Malian armed forces, the operationalization of interim authorities and building a special development area in the north.
We insisted on the need to accelerate and prioritize the implementation of the agreement. We stressed the priority goals of the constitutional review process, defining a comprehensive plan and a clear timeline for the redeployment of the Malian armed forces to the north of the country, and creating a special development area for the North End. In that spirit, we encouraged the Malian actors to present as soon as possible a new road map that is realistic, binding and focused on a limited number of priorities.
Of course, the situation in the centre of the country following the attacks in the Bankass district was also at the heart of our discussions with all actors we met, including civil society representatives. We all agreed that there was an absolute need to do everything possible to break the terrible cycle of violence that has prevailed in the centre for several months, with tragic consequences for the local populations. We encouraged MINUSMA to maintain its protection-of-civilians mission there and its support for Government efforts, which should probably be strengthened. We also urged that everything possible be done to ensure that the perpetrators of those heinous crimes do not go unpunished.
Lastly, before yielding the floor I should like to say a word about the G-5 Sahel. I simply wish to say that the goal of our mission in that regard was to take stock of the operationalization of the Joint Force and discuss ways to strengthen the effectiveness of the tools the Council has put together to support it. The G-5 Sahel leaders with whom we met underscored in particular the idea of adapting the modalities of the technical agreement without calling into question the heart of its functions, in order to harmonize it with the needs of the Joint Force. Tomorrow’s ministerial-level meeting on the Joint Force that is to be led by our Minister for Foreign Affairs will be an opportunity to pursue our thinking on this, in the prevailing cooperative spirit, in the run-up to the preparations for the next report of the Secretary-General and the upcoming Security Council deadlines on this issue.
I should like, on behalf of us all, to offer our heartfelt thanks to all the members of the Secretariat who worked, in New York and on the ground, to organize and carry out the mission. I refer in particular to the members of the Security Council Affairs Division, the interpreters, the security officers, the teams from the Department of Peace Operations, the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, MINUSMA and the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, the country team in Burkina Faso and all the teams that did such excellent work. Their work and commitment were exemplary and played a fundamental role in ensuring the mission’s success. I thank them from the bottom of my heart on behalf of us all.