Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on the situation in Mali
We thank Special Representative El-Ghassim Wane for the briefing on the work of the UN Stabilization Mission in Mali and the situation in that country. We listened carefully to the remarks by a representative of the civil society, Ms. Adam Dicko.
Apparently, betterment of the situation in Mali, implementation of the peace agreement, eradication of terrorism, and improvement of the socio-economic situation are most dependent on domestic political stability. Therefore, we welcome the engagement of Malian transitional government that seeks to convene inclusive national dialogue with all stakeholders in order to determine the course of further reforms and development of the country. We trust that the results of this dialogue will be soon put to life.
It is our understanding that all obligations related to recovering the constitutional order need to be implemented with an eye to the reality on the ground, which has its own logic and might demand certain adjustments. We realize what difficulties Malian authorities encounter when preparing for general elections. We agree that unless state control is recovered, the results of the vote in many regions of Mali could hardly be considered verified. It would spiral up political destabilization, as was the case after the elections in Mali in 2020. We are convinced that excessive external interference in these issues that we have witnessed in the recent months, may only exacerbate the situation.
Security situation remains complicated. Extremists keep terrorizing the local population, attacking Malian military formations and UN peacekeepers. Malian armed forces and the UN Blue Helmets continuously sustain losses.
Against an unexpected reform of the French military presence in Mali and subsequent closure of several leading bases that were central to the fight against militants, Malians were basically left alone vis-à-vis terrorists. In this regard, we believe Malians have every right to interact with other partners that are ready to cooperate in promoting security. The hysteria around a Russian private military company is another manifestation of double standards, because it is well known that this market is dominated by Western countries.
We welcome that Malian authorities are elaborating a complex strategy to stabilize the country’s center. We believe that despite all contradictions, it would be irresponsible to leave Mali to sink or swim, i.a by reducing the military and economic assistance that it receives. If sanctions are imposed on this state, which is already in a precarious situation, it may worsen the situation of the population dramatically.
Security stakes for Mali and the region are too high. Therefore we proceed from the understanding that Malians are fully entitled to cooperating with other partners that are ready to work together to enhance security. Criticism of such action is hypocritical and disrespectful of a sovereign state.
Close cooperation and coordination between the Malian sides and MINUSMA remains imperative. We agree that MINUSMA adaptation measures need to be concluded soon. We support the peacekeepers’ efforts aimed at settling inter-communal conflicts and protecting civilians. We assume that all decisions relating to the modalities of MINUSMA’s operation, i.a. regarding its composition, should be made with due account for the opinion of Bamako. However, no one takes the responsibility off Mali itself, because it is Malians who will play the leading role in overcoming the existing difficulties.
Speaking about the Malian settlement, we always proceed from the principle “African solutions – to the African problems”. In this context, we support mediator efforts that are based on the principle of zero-interference in internal affairs.
By all means, the situation in Mali is the key factor of regional security. We stand ready to work closely on the proposals to extend the UNSC assistance to the G5 Sahel Joint Force.
We reiterate our readiness to interact closely with Mali and all international actors in order to stabilize the situation in Mali and broader region.