With all major armed groups in Mali now signed onto a peace agreement, it was now imperative to put in place actions to end violence and ensure that the population experienced a tangible dividend, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General told the Security Council this morning.
“The Peace Accord opens prospects for Mali’s recovery and longer-term perspectives with a view to reversing the setbacks induced by the political and security crisis,” Mongi Hamdi, who is also the head of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), told the 15-member body in a briefing following which Mali’s Foreign Minister also spoke.
Mr. Hamdi said that, this past Saturday, 20 June, was a “great day for peace” in Mali, as groups of the so-called “Coordination” coalition signed on to the Accord, joining the Government and the Azawad and Platforme movements, making the agreement now global and inclusive.
“In this context, I am making a strong appeal to the international community and to financial institutions on the necessity to begin to fund as quickly as possible the implementation of the Peace Accord,” he added.
Mr. Hamdi introduced the Secretary-General’s 11 June report on Mali (document S/2015/426), which recommends that the Council consider refocusing the MINUSMA mandate, due to be renewed by the end of June, to support the progressive and consensual implementation of the Peace Accord, facilitate national dialogue and bolster security and stabilization through, possibly, monitoring ceasefires.
The challenges to implementing the Accord were numerous, as it did not represent reconciliation, but instead, provided the basis for resolving differences, Mr. Hamdi said. In addition, the security situation remained fragile, with clashes and other continued violations of the ceasefire across the north of Mali.
He stressed, however, that the security provisions of the Accord, if implemented in a timely, inclusive and consensual fashion by the parties, could help stabilize the northern regions. Those provisions included cantonment, as well as reintegration and security sector reform programmes, in which MINUSMA and the United Nations family were expected to play a major role.
The success of international efforts, he acknowledged, was contingent on the parties’ commitment and determination to make much-needed compromises and concessions for the greater good of all Malians. The maintenance of ceasefires was key in that regard.
In addition, as scores of displaced people returned home in spite of pressing humanitarian needs, it was crucial to re-establish basic social services nationwide, he said, to ease potential tensions, guide early recovery and support social cohesion.
Noting that the extremely difficult peacekeeping conditions in northern Mali would continue despite the Accord, and extending condolences to families and Governments of fallen personnel, he stressed the imperative that troop- and police-contributing countries get the capabilities required to operate safely and effectively.
It was also necessary, he added, to clearly define the roles of the international community in implementing the Accord. The Mission would naturally play a key role on the ground, particularly in supporting security and defence, as well as human rights and justice initiatives, and by leading the Secretariat of the Accord’s follow-up committee.
Thanking all those who were supporting progress in Mali, he expressed hope that the future mandate of MINUSMA could be oriented fully behind the peace process, including through continued good offices, active ceasefire monitoring and a leading role in the implementation of the Accord.
Speaking after the briefing, Abdoulaye Diop, Minister for Foreign Affairs, African Integration and International Cooperation of Mali, agreed that the Accord provided a framework for a lasting solution in the country taking into consideration the legitimate aspirations of all parties.
However, he warned that the agreement would not bring peace in and of itself and would require all sides to uphold their commitments, with the international community playing its full role, as well.
Concurring with the Secretary-General’s recommendations for the refocusing of the MINUSMA mandate, he said that the Council should authorize all means necessary to prevent the resurgence of terrorist groups, drug traffickers and other hostile forces as part of implementing the peace agreement.
MINUSMA’s mandate should also support reestablishment of State authority across the country, implementation of security sector reform process, provision of basic social services and training for demining and safe destruction of improvised explosive devices. Strong and continued international support for humanitarian assistance was also needed. Further, it was important to establish a framework to counter organized crime, as it funded violence and terrorism.
Taking note of the Secretary-General’s recommendation to establish 40 military observers, he sought greater clarity on related operational issues. He also expressed surprise that the word “terrorism” did not appear in the report, in view of the threat that scourge posed to the country.
The Malian Government, he pledged, would establish a mechanism for the implementation of the Peace Accord in order to take national ownership of the process. He urged the international community to extend full support and cooperation in that endeavour.
The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 10:41 a.m.