I thank the SRSG Wane for his briefing and leadership. We also welcome the participation of Foreign Minister Diop.
And as this is the last regular briefing on Mali and MINUSMA during our term on the Security Council, allow me to share three thoughts on the past years.
First: We are deeply saddened, again, by the loss of life and injuries in MINUSMA yesterday. We send our condolences to their loved ones, to Chad, and pay tribute to all peacekeepers for their service.
Yet again, we see the extremely tough circumstances that the blue helmets are facing in Mali.
And during the past year we have become increasingly concerned as the Malian government has imposed new restrictions on the mission. Restrictions on: rotations for personnel, flights, and access- all place limits on their ability to fulfil the mandate.
We are also concerned about the detention of Ivorian soldiers – and call for their urgent release, in the spirit of fraternal relations between the peoples of Côte d’Ivoire and Mali.
To be clear: MINUSMA’s Security Council mandate and status of forces agreement must be fully respected. And considering these constraints on MINUSMA, the Secretary-General´s upcoming review must be an honest one – with all options on the table.
Following this report, the Council, in consultation with TCC and PCCs, must consider necessary adjustments – again, with all options on the table.
Second: When the Malian military decided to take over power by force, it also took on tremendous responsibilities. One such responsibility is to ensure security and protection for the civilian population from human rights violations and abuses. This situation is unfortunately not improving.
The main perpetrators are terrorists and armed groups.
But we are also deeply concerned about reports of violations and abuses committed by the Malian armed forces, and the Wagner Group.
We especially call on all parties to implement the conclusions of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict.
Violations of international law against children must end, and be prevented.
We further call on the government to address growing numbers of cases of conflict-related sexual violence.
Third: There are also some hopeful developments, which deserve to be encouraged:
The agreement with ECOWAS on the transition timeline is crucial -- and must be adhered to.
The adoption of the new electoral law, and nomination of an electoral committee, is therefore encouraging.
The Malian authorities have a clear responsibility in contributing to the full implementation of the ‘Algiers Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali’.
Hence, we welcome the increasing number of women in the follow-up committee for the Agreement (CSA).
Norway will continue to support progress towards more inclusivity, and a return to Constitutional order. In this regard, we also note the new draft Constitution.
President, in conclusion: Despite all the challenges over the past years, what we have seen -- from New York and Bamako -- is a UN that has shown an extraordinary commitment to Mali.
And, if circumstances allow: MINUSMA, Norway, and many other partners stand ready to continue this support.