Explanation of vote by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva after the UNSC vote on a draft resolution on renewal of mandate of the UN Mission in Mali
Russia abstained during the vote on a draft resolution proposed by France on renewal of the mandate of MINUSMA which plays a critical role in stabilizing the situation in Mali.
We did our best to make our position heard during the negotiations, and we believe it is important that we articulate it publicly today.
It is our strong conviction that inclusion in the resolution of intrusive language, related to MINUSMA implementing a mandate in the area of human rights, would not help Malians execute their sovereign right to protecting its people and investigating the current incidents, to which Bamako is strongly committed. We are concerned that someone who does not welcome Mali’s independent external policy and resolves to besmirch the activity of the transitional government of the country may want to use this situation for their own purposes.
To a certain extent, we already got used to the fact that our Western colleagues again and again treat the Council to some fakes about Russia’s allegedly destructive role in Mali. They listen neither to us, nor to the Malians, who thanked Russia (i.a. in this chamber) for our assistance in combating terrorism. Other African partners did not raise any objections with us either.
But there is something else that we find surprising. Mali is amidst a tough fight against terrorism. Attacks by extremists kill hundreds of civilians and dozens of peacekeepers every month. It becomes increasingly harder for MINUSMA to deliver on its mandate amidst immense security threats that i.a. emerged due to withdrawal of French forces. But for our Western colleagues, all these profound challenges recede into the background when they issue of Russian assistance to Mali is raised. Instead of working together to make our support for Mali more effective and resolve the existing disputes in the region instead of fueling them, our colleagues would rather focus on issues that have nothing to do with the priorities of MINUSMA or Mali itself, for that matter. This makes us think of their true motives in the context of MINUSMA's activities.
We do hope that both the United Nations and the leadership of MINUSMA, despite the external pressure that the Mission is exposed to, will remain impartial, only act in the best interest of Malians, and address all the emerging problems through constructive engagement with host authorities.