|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
7179th Meeting (PM)
Action Must Be Taken to Prevent Mali from Spiralling Back into Violence,
Top United Nations Official Warns Security Council
Condemning the recent outbreak of violence in the northern Malian town of Kidal, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) stressed to the Security Council that all actions must be taken to prevent that country from spiralling back into violence.
“More violence will only breed more violence and the people of Mali will be the first to suffer,” warned Special Representative Albert Koenders, speaking via video teleconference from Mali. Expressing condolences to the families of those killed by armed groups, he stated that those acts had violated relevant Security Council resolutions, as well as the 18 June 2013 agreement. More so, the international community had not been spared, with two blue helmets and 21 police officers injured in Kidal during and after the Prime Minister’s visit to the region. Actions against security forces were unacceptable and the perpetrators of those heinous crimes must be brought to justice.
“Indifference is not an option,” he said. While the Organization remained committed to restoring peace in northern Mali, a prerequisite to addressing the root causes of conflict, such incidents had underscored the serious political challenges in Mali and the need for progress. To avoid any further loss of life, Kidal must be pulled back from the brink of violence and policy measures must be given priority. Such actions were imperative towards not only stabilizing the country, but the region.
The Mouvement National pour la Liberation de l’Azawad needed to end their occupation of the Governor’s Office as soon as possible and the peace initiative must proceed without delay, he emphasized. Reviving the political process was a priority, and he appealed to armed groups who were not signatories to the 18 June agreement that their grievances could only be addressed through dialogue. As well, the Deputy Secretary-General had called the President of Mali urging that a political solution be sought.
Expressing hope that peace talks commence without delay, he emphasized that the United Nations would continue to assist the parties in the reconciliation process and would support capacity-building and political reforms.
Abdoulaye Diop, Minister for Foreign Affairs, African Integration and International Cooperation, also speaking via videoconference, said that since his 23 April briefing to the Council, armed groups had declared war on the State of Mali. On 17 May, the Prime Minister had travelled with 10 Government ministers to the country’s northern regions to oversee redeployment of the administration, evaluate strengths and weaknesses in the field in order to create the best conditions possible for successful peace talks, facilitate the return of refugees, and bolster State authority and reconciliation. Honouring its commitment under the June 2013 Ouagadougou Preliminary Agreement, his Government had limited the number of troops in the field to just a few.
The peaceful delegation, however, was received in Kidal with weapons and bullets, he said. Dozens had been assassinated in cold blood. He then pointed to photos of the incident, noting the large Mouvement National pour la Liberation de l’Azawad banner placed over the vehicles of terrorist groups — a clear indication of that group’s link to terrorism. The Council must take action to end impunity for such cowardly, premeditated crimes, including by clearly identifying the “one aggressor” that was attacking the Malian Government.
“The aggression in Kidal cannot remain unpunished,” Mr. Diop said, calling on the Council to set up an international commission to verify the facts and bring those responsible to justice. Moreover, the Council should have a more robust mandate under Chapter VII to grapple with the risks in the field and disarm all armed groups.
For its part, Mali’s Government would never lose sight of its cardinal values, he said. It would continue to respect its commitments and work towards a sincere, constructive dialogue. Kidal had always been and would remain an integral part of Mali. The Malian Defence and Security Forces would continue to deploy there. “We must make sure that what happened on the 17 May never happens again,” he said.
The meeting began at 5:18 p.m. and ended 5:40 p.m.
* *** *For information media • not an official record