Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva at UNSC briefing on the situation in Mali
We thank Special Representative El-Ghassim Wane for delivering a briefing on the work of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali and the situation in that country. We also thank Ms.Fatima Maiga for her remarks.
Apparently, the improvement of the situation on the ground, implementation of the peace agreement, eradication of terrorism, betterment of socio-economic aspects – it all depends on the internal political stability in the first place. Struggle for power that triggered two acute crises over the past year can hardly add value to this.
We took note of assurances of the new Malian authorities that all previous commitments with regard to the transitional period remained effective, i.a. conducting constitutional referendum and general democratic elections within the outlined term. Much will depend on whether the interested sides continue dialogue in order to build national consent and help get the situation in Mali back in the constitutional field.
We proceed from the understanding that stabilization in Mali is directly linked to the strict implementation of the Algiers Peace Agreement by the transitional government and other political forces. We hope that constructive interaction with the groups-“signatories” on that matter will continue. We expect that the process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants and deployment of further units in the north of Mali will accelerate. Alongside with this, Mali needs to reform its state governance and create conditions for socio-economic recovery of affected areas, including the northern development zone. The interests of all peoples inhabiting that country, especially its northern territories, must be taken into account.
The security situation remains very complicated. Extremists terrorize the local population, attack Malian military, the UN peacekeepers and contingents of other international forces. Malian armed forces and MINUSMA’s Blue Helmets sustain losses. Unfortunately and despite all efforts to mediate, inter-communal clashes are still taking place in the central regions. To a large extent, they are provoked by the extremist activity.
We are very worried about the situation in the borderland of Mali, Niger, and Burkina-Faso, where a heinous terrorist attack against civilians took place recently. Russia expresses condolences to the peoples and governments of the countries, whose citizens die at the hands of terrorists in this region. We expect that the authorities of both Mali and its neighbors will act more robustly to eradicate terrorism on their soil.
The humanitarian situation raises great concern. The share of people in need of food assistance, and the number of IDPs have increased significantly. All this asks for urgent response of humanitarian agencies.
We must bear in mind that the situation in Mali is a key factor of regional security. We trust that Malian armed forces will continue to engage meaningfully in the operations of the G5 Sahel Joint Force, and that the decisions that West African states made in 2020 and 2021 in order to boost anti-terrorist action will be put to life. The proposal to deploy African Standby Forces in the Sahel that was articulated by the AU Commission deserves being thoroughly considered.
By all means, close cooperation and coordination between Bamako and MINUSMA must continue. We welcome the assistance that MINUSMA provides to the G5 Sahel Joint Force, and we are ready to look into modalities of how this support may be extended. Also, we welcome MINUSMA adaptation plans. Of course, the primary tasks of the Mission remain the same: help with restoring the constitutional order, implementing the peace agreement, and promoting the country’s security. So MINUSMA remains the key factor in terms of prospects for further stabilization. Yet we are convinced that it is Malians themselves who are supposed to play the “first fiddle” in overcoming the existing problems.
When speaking about the settlement in Mali, we always proceed from the principle “African solutions – to the African problems”. In this context, we support the efforts of ECOWAS and the African Union. At the same time, despite all controversies, it would be reckless to leave Mali to the mercy of fate amidst the current situation and cut the military and economic assistance it receives. Stakes for security in Mali and the entire region are too high.
We are ready to interact closely with the international stakeholders in order to stabilize the situation in Mali and the region at large.