June 20, 2024

UN Security Council briefed on Mali issues by U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis

A Burundi AMISOM soldier on patrol holds a young boy's hand near the town of Mahaday, Somalia, during a patrol in the area on 3 March 2016. AMISOM Photo / Tobin Jones
A Burundi AMISOM soldier on patrol holds a young boy's hand near the town of Mahaday, Somalia, during a patrol in the area on 3 March 2016. AMISOM Photo / Tobin Jones

The UN Security Council was briefed on Mali issues by Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, Acting Deputy Representative to the United Nations, on April 12, 2023. The Ambassador touched on various issues affecting the country and the UN mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA.

Ambassador DeLaurentis commended the Secretary-General’s report for focusing on the four parameters set in the UN strategic review of MINUSMA. These benchmarks are crucial for assessing the mission’s viability. He urged Mali’s transition government to show immediate progress on the political transition, the implementation of the Algiers Accord, MINUSMA’s freedom of movement, and its ability to implement its entire mandate, including human rights provisions.

The Ambassador expressed concern over the Malian authorities’ refusal of nearly 300 flight requests, which is hindering the peacekeepers’ ability to implement their mandate and threatening their safety and security. He supported MINUSMA’s efforts to resolve these restrictions and emphasized the transition government’s obligation under its Status of Forces Agreement to ensure MINUSMA’s freedom of movement and access.

The Ambassador also condemned the transition government’s decision to expel MINUSMA’s human rights chief and the continued obstruction of the UN’s human rights mandates in Mali. He called on the mission to ensure all information-sharing arrangements comply fully with the UN’s Human Rights Due Diligence Policy.

Ambassador DeLaurentis expressed concern that the Malian transition government did not issue visas to the UN Mali Panel of Experts, impacting the Sanctions Committee’s ability to function. He urged all members to cooperate with the Panel of Experts and facilitate their travel.

On the one-year anniversary of the civilian massacre in Moura, the Ambassador expressed disappointment that the UN had not released its report on the incident. He emphasized the need for an honest and transparent accounting of this incident and all allegations of human rights violations and abuses within Mali’s borders before entering into negotiations to renew the MINUSMA mandate.

While concerned about the postponement of the March 9 constitutional referendum, the Ambassador commended the preparations and progress made by transition authorities on fulfilling an ambitious timeline for elections. He offered full support to MINUSMA and its UN partners as they provide critical technical assistance and capacity-building support to ensure Malians can safely go to the polls and see constitutional rule successfully restored.

Ambassador DeLaurentis expressed significant concern about the lack of progress toward resuming the normal functioning of the Algiers Accord implementation mechanisms. While acknowledging MINUSMA, the Algerian government, and the international mediation’s tireless efforts to revitalize these mechanisms, he stated that responsibility for overcoming the impasse lies with the signatory armed groups and transition authorities. He urged parties to demonstrate renewed commitment to the Accord.

The Ambassador emphasized that MINUSMA’s success depends on the Malian authorities’ full cooperation. He stated that it would be irresponsible for the Security Council to continue deploying peacekeepers in conditions where they cannot succeed. He urged the Malian transition government to end its restrictions on MINUSMA and demonstrate its commitment to carrying out its political obligations.

The UN Security Council is expected to take action based on the Ambassador’s remarks and the Secretary-General’s report to ensure that the situation in Mali improves, and MINUSMA can successfully implement its mandate

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