Bamako, Mali

5 November 2013

Unofficial transcript of Secretary-General's comments during the joint press conference with the African Union, World Bank and European Union

SG: Good evening. 

I am honoured to be here with such a distinguished delegation of leaders. 

We are here to demonstrate our solidarity with the people of Mali and the Sahel who have suffered through many humanitarian and security challenges. 

We are here to show our strong political, financial and moral support.

We have just returned from Timbuktu and saw first-hand a vibrant city striving to bounce back from terrible upheaval and horrendous human rights violations. 

We visited Timbuktu’s impressive cultural heritage – some of which had been deliberately damaged in conflict.

When Timbuktu’s heritage is attacked, it is not only a loss for the Malians, but for our common world heritage. 

Thanks to a strong demonstration of international solidarity and regional support, the situation throughout the country has improved greatly, but security remains volatile.

Mesdames et Messieurs,

J’ai tiré encouragement de la signature de l’Accord préliminaire du 18 juin, ainsi que des résultats des élections présidentielles qui se sont tenues l’été dernier. L’organisation des élections législatives prévues le 24 novembre, qui approchent, est également une grande priorité.

Toutes les parties doivent se conformer aux engagements qu’elles ont pris à Ouagadougou et entamer un processus de dialogue et de réconciliation ouvert à tous.

Une « nouvelle approche » des relations entre le Mali et ses partenaires, fondée sur la transparence, le partage des risques et la définition d’objectifs communs, sera propice au développement, à la sécurité et à la paix.

La réunion ministérielle régionale qui s’est tenue aujourd’hui est un réel pas en avant.

Les problèmes ont des racines profondes.

Mais il y a beaucoup de choses sur lesquelles nous pouvons [inaudible].

L’expérience nous a appris que la paix ne peut venir qu’avec le développement, et que le développement ne peut venir qu’avec la paix.

C’est sur ce principe que repose la Stratégie intégrée des Nations Unies pour le Sahel, qui a été approuvée par le Conseil de sécurité.

Cette stratégie privilégie la gouvernance, la sécurité et la résilience. Elle met l’accent sur les droits de l’homme, les moyens de subsistance durables, la participation des femmes et l’avenir des jeunes.

Aujourd’hui, nous sommes convenus de mieux nous coordonner. Nous avons annoncé de nombreux engagements grâce auxquels notre action pourra progresser.

La voie que nous suivrons sera celle que traceront le Mali et la région en définissant leurs priorités.

Ensemble, nous le disons haut et fort: nous resterons aux côtés des peuples du Mali et du Sahel.

Je vous remercie. Thank you for your attention.

Q: [on link between security and development]

SG: Basically, I agree with what President Kim has said. The Malian people have suffered too long from this security crisis which happened unfortunately in your country. Now with the active intervention and support of the international community, I think the security situation in the North has approved and I think there is a tendency that many people are returning to the North. That is quite encouraging. What I have been urging the President and Prime Minister and Foreign Minister today is that this military operation on the security situation, that's just one aspect of many problems your country may have. There should be a broader -- a more comprehensive approach should be taken. This morning we had a meeting with President Keita. I have urged him that now is the time to turn the attention of his policies to addressing the root causes of problems. First, inclusive political dialogue to promote inclusive reconciliation.  That is very important. Then we should have security sector reform, promote gender empowerment, provide decent economic opportunity to women and young people, establish [the] rule of law…there are many other issues. Those are some of the things that you can really address.

There are high expectations from the international community, United Nations, World Bank, African Union, European Union, OIC. It is important that the Malian leadership and people should be able to gain the full trust and confidence of the international community.  The support very generously offered by the World Bank and the European Union should be fully transformed into action. That is what we are doing and we will do. We are here to express our solidarity and show support -- because you are still suffering from the remnant of this situation. The most recent is the abduction and killing of two French journalists. That reminds us that the security situation is not over and that our action –comprehensive action - should be taken urgently.  So, our main purpose [for] coming is that first we will try to coordinate our actions among our partners and we will coordinate with the Malian Government. Let us try to have a comprehensive approach. That’s my message. Thank you.

Q: [on France withdrawing from Mali]

SG: The French operation Serval is now in the process of withdrawing or exiting from their operation. One may not expect that they will be here permanently. It may not be the Malian Government’s and people’s wishes that they be here permanently. That is why, the United Nations Security Council, upon my recommendation, has established MINUSMA. MINUSMA has officially started from July of this year with the mandated ceiling of 12,000 peacekeepers and police forces. We are now in the process of deploying [to] this mandated ceiling but we may have to wait a few more months. Again, as I said, the military means may be important but that’s not all, that’s not all. The UN will do [its] best to liaise with the Government and try to make sure that peace and security will be there.  But at the same time, there should be … a development project should come. That is why my Special Envoy, Romano Prodi, has devised the Integrated Strategy of the United Nations for the Sahel. It has been supported by your Government. It has been approved by the Security Council. This is a broader, comprehensive approach, comprising political, security, human rights, development and all aspects of our work. So the UN will try to coordinate [its] actions, our priorities, with the Government concerned. Most recently, this very tragic incident where peacekeepers were killed in Tessalit and we have journalists who were abducted and killed. [These] were a wake-up call for us to be more prepared for that. That is why I have asked the President and Prime Minister to do [more] on security sector reform and strengthen the capacity of Malian national forces. And I am going to discuss this matter with key supporters.

Thank you.