Our condolences go to MINUSMA, and to the families of the peacekeepers who have lost their lives since our last meeting.
We also express sadness for the loss of so many civilian lives. We are alarmed by the continuous increase in IED attacks against MINUSMA, as well as the use of indirect fire towards its bases. We expect that an increase of troops and police could also enhance MINUSMA’s ability to defend itself against non-state armed groups.
On the more general situation in Mali, we are deeply concerned by political, security and humanitarian developments in the country. As SRSG Wane has said, Mali’s Transitional Government, and we as partners must be able to work on several things in a coordinated manner.
First: There is need for a renewed dynamic in the political transition. Security and good governance must go hand in hand. We ask the Malian transitional government to heed the messages from ECOWAS. Developments in Mali do not only affect Malians, but also all those in neighbouring countries. Elections need to be held, and Constitutional order restored as soon as possible to ensure legitimacy and accountability. This is the only way we can know the true will of the Malian people.
Second: We call on the Transitional Government of Mali to avoid actions that could make the situation even more difficult to handle, including the use of private military contractors.
Third: We welcome the efforts towards developing a consolidated comprehensive politically led strategy for Central Mali. In order to increase protection of civilians in Central Mali, we reiterate our support for the Secretary-General’s proposed increase of MINUSMA’s troop and police ceiling. Having noted some of the recent signals, we hope these discussions can be resumed soon.
Fourth: The Algiers Agreement must be respected, as the most legitimate foundation for peace and continued dialogue in Mali.
Fifth and finally: We are pleased to see that the transitional authorities, and the UN adopted an action plan to implement the provision of a joint communiqué addressing sexual violence in conflict.
However, we remain deeply concerned about the humanitarian and protection crisis in Mali. The reported increase of IDPs, the systematic targeting of civilians and continued attacks reported on schools must stop. For the sake of Mali’s youth – a voice from which we have just heard – we urge Mali’s transitional leaders to thread carefully in their use of the power that they have taken by force.
International law must be upheld, including international human rights law, and international humanitarian law.