Statement by Mr.Petr Illiichev, First Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, at the Security Council on the situation in Mali
We would like to thank Under-SecretaryGeneral Mr. Jean-Pierre Lacroix for his detailed briefing, and we welcome the participation in today’s meeting of Mr. Tiéman Coulibaly, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mali.
We noted the signing on 20 September by the parties in Mali of a memorandum on a cessation of hostilities and the subsequent halt to the fighting between the Coordination des mouvements de l’Azawad and the Platform coalition of armed groups.
We also took positive note of the meeting held in Anéfis in October on intercommunal reconciliation among the Malian parties. Nor should we omit to mention the completed establishment of all the interim administrations for all five of the country’s northern regions. We hope that Mali’s decision to postpone the municipal and regional elections until April, taken with the active mediation of Mr. Mahamat Saleh Annadif, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, will enable a more inclusive political process.
Despite those positives, we are concerned about the delays in implementing the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali, including the processes of cantonment and security-sector reform. We welcome the agreements reached by the Malian parties just last week on renewing the timetable for implementing the Algiers Agreement. Now they must be implemented.
Unfortunately, the security situation is now deteriorating, not because of the Malian parties but rather as a result of an increase in terrorist activity. We are worried about the geographical expansion of their activity, as well as the growing losses among Malian security forces and Blue Helmets.
In that regard, we welcome the commitment of the countries of the region to establishing the Joint Force of the Group of Five for the Sahel, and we participated in coming up with a balanced Security Council resolution to support them (S/2017/2391). However, we share the Secretariat’s view that it will be impossible to stabilize the region without full implementation of the Agreement by Mali’s stakeholders. We should never forget that the collapse of the security situation in the Sahel followed the 2011 foreign intervention in Libya that led to the de facto dismantling of the Libyan State.
We welcome the strengthening of the military and police components of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
We call on the Secretariat to take additional measures to provide peacekeepers with armoured personnel carriers and attack and transport helicopters, as well as to improve the Blue Helmets’ security. We expect the Mission to finally reach full operational readiness in 2018.
Taking into account the Malian Government’s position, we helped to adopt resolution 2364 (2017), which defined the specific tasks of MINUSMA in assisting the country’s security forces. It is important to note that a memorandum on this specific issue was signed in November.
Taking the wishes of Bamako into consideration, Russia also supported the adoption of resolution 2374 (2017), which imposed a sanctions regime on individuals who sabotage the implementation of the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali. We share the desire of the Malians to speed up the stabilization of the northern regions. At the same time, we would like to warn once again that using the threat of sanctions has its own collateral effects.
We hope that that step of the Security Council does not lead to the hostility from the Coordination des mouvements de l’Azawad and the Platform coalition of armed groups and increased mistrust among the Malian parties.
We also hope that the established sanctions mechanisms will be used only as intended, namely, to contribute to the political process and the stabilization of the country