Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on the situation in Mali


We thank Special Representative Wane and Ms. Aminata Dicko for the briefings. We welcome Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Mali Abdoulaye Diop to this meeting.

 We are convinced that the Malian authorities are willing to do their best to address challenges that their country is faced with, first of all in terms of security and internal political stability.

Malians prove firmly committed to getting back to the constitutional track in the agreed terms. They undertake efforts to fully implement the transitional roadmap, and also work on a new draft Constitution to account for the key provisions of the 2015 Algiers Peace Agreement.

It is essential that the Malian leadership is committed to upholding this document which remains fundamental for achieving peace and national reconciliation in the country. At the end of last year, the Monitoring Committee reconvened after an almost 12-month break and adopted some crucial decisions, i.a. with regard to the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process of former combatants. We call on the signatories, first of all the “Coordination of Azawad Movements” to get back to the targeted engagement with the Committee. We hope that a mutually acceptable solution about the meetings’ modalities will be found soon.  

We agree with the current Malian authorities that the issue of security is an overriding priority of the transition period. Mali continues its toilsome and challenging fight against terrorism. Due to the vacuum of security that emerged after the hasty withdrawal of French and European military contingents from the Malian territory, terrorists from the “Islamic State in the Greater Sahara” and “Support Group for Islam and Muslims” became more active. These groups that are affiliated with Al-Qaida carry on with regular raids against civilians, units of the Malian armed forces, and UN peacekeepers. However despite some objective difficulties, in recent months the Malian armed forces proved capable of making progress in combating terrorists.  

We express our support for the activities of MINUSMA aimed at assisting the Malian people and authorities in addressing their outstanding problems, first of all in the interests of stabilization. We are aware of the threats that service in Mali (especially its central and northern regions) poses to the Blue Helmets. We pay tribute to the peacekeepers and Malian soldiers who gave their lives for the sake of peace and security in the country. 

We are satisfied with the progress in the dialogue with transitional government, and also in ensuring a proper level of coordination. We regret that some troop contributing states decided to quit MINUSMA or put their participation in that mission on hold.

We proceed from the understanding that MINUSMA must strictly follow its mandate in the area of human rights, specifically in assisting the Malian authorities with related investigations. This file must not be politicized.

Now to evaluation of the modalities of MINUSMA’s work and internal review of the Mission. We would like to stress that we continue to consider ways to reform the UN presence. We do hope that this entire process will be centered around the needs of Mali and support for this country’s efforts. Since the opinion of the host state is crucial, we believe  that consultations should continue.


In general, we proceed from the assumption that effective implementation of MINUSMA’s mandate, i.a. with regard to recovery of the constitutional order, implementation of the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement, and at other tracks is not possible without support for the defense and security forces of Mali. Only those are capable of the necessary offensive actions against terrorists.

Russia provides comprehensive assistance to the Malian army, which includes increasing its combat capacity and personnel training. Such assistance that is provided upon Bamako’s request and in full compliance with relevant norms of the international law is yielding fruit. Malian armed forces conduct successful counter-terrorist operations in the central regions of the country. They also take consistent steps to liberate the northern and eastern areas from the militants.

We believe that the negative reaction of our Western colleagues to enhancement of Malian-Russian cooperation is another manifestation of neocolonial approaches. This approach, coupled with the absence of any tangible results in terms of stabilization after years of their military presence in Mali was the reason why the country decided to find new partners.

Those efforts were not efficient, which clearly follows from the internal review report. We saw a similar situation in Afghanistan, where 20 years of the US presence resulted in a complete failure and were marked by numerous crimes. At the end of the day, the Security Council has to rectify this situation just like the one with Afghanistan. But somehow, Russia is to blame.

Unlike some Western colleagues, Russia does not try to interfere in the Malian policies and does not condition assistance on any terms that could harm the country’s national sovereignty. Our relations are based on lasting and equal bilateral cooperation and shared understanding of the need to combat the global evil of terrorism. In this regard, it is not surprising that we hear absolutely no complaints from our African partners regarding the parameters of our interaction. When the Security Council platforms is used to settle scores with Russia, it is not only a demonstration of an irresponsible approach, but also disrespect for millions Malians.  

We have taken note of the statement issued by official Paris that France will stop funding development assistance programs in Mali. The response of the Malian government is quite understandable. In November last year, the authorities banned activities of NGOs that receive material or technical support from France. It is clear that the decision of Paris can further exacerbate the dire humanitarian situation in Mali, where, according to the UN data, more than 5.3 million people need humanitarian assistance, and the number of IDPs reached 440,000. At the same time, the humanitarian appeal for Mali remains chronically underfunded.

Russia will promote normalization in Mali both at the Security Council platform and by means of providing comprehensive assistance to Bamako on a bilateral basis. At the same time, we believe that effective assistance to the Malian authorities in ensuring security and pursuing a balanced policy in matters of resolving the crisis is in our common interests. Without collective efforts, it will be very difficult to achieve lasting peace and stability throughout the Sahara-Sahel, which still cannot overcome the challenges provoked by the illegal Western intervention in Libya in 2011.

At the same time, we are firmly convinced that the main role in maintaining peace and stability in the Sahara-Sahel must be played by its people. States of the region need to implement a truly independent policy on the basis of the principle “African solutions to African problems”.  

Thank you.