Thank you Mr. President.
The United States wishes to thank penholder France and all our Council colleagues for their collaboration to renew one of the world’s largest peacekeeping missions.
Mr. President, as Mali prepares for presidential elections in a few short weeks, the people of Mali find themselves at another significant crossroads.
We have sought in this resolution to best frame the mission’s role in Mali’s present and future.
Peacekeeping missions are not indefinite, nor should they be. This mission, founded in 2013, which we have now renewed for another year, will not be in Mali forever. It is there to do one thing above all else – to support implementation of the 2015 Algiers Accord for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali as a way to achieve durable and lasting political solutions in Mali. The mission cannot achieve this alone. For years, parties have stalled that process while the world has waited and the security situation has deteriorated. That is why this year’s resolution makes clear to the parties that without their significant progress, we will be forced to look at options to overhaul the mission. We agree that there has been some progress in implementing the Accord over the past few months, but we should be much closer to full implementation, and we must see progress now. For this Council and Mali’s many friends, who have made a significant financial and strategic investment in the country, this resolution makes clear that we can accept no further delay.
With this resolution we have also streamlined the mandate, emphasized the primacy of the mission’s political engagement, and stressed the importance of outreach and engagement for the protection of civilians. We have called on the mission to develop better strategic messaging so Malians understand that MINUSMA is there to bring peace and stability and to work with others in the development, security, and political sectors to help Mali succeed.
Mr. President, many Malians, and MINUSMA’s peacekeepers, face life and death realities every day, contending with terrorist attacks, escalating intercommunal violence, and – increasingly – with human rights violations and abuses by Mali’s security forces. The rising number of extrajudicial killings and mass graves in places like Boulekessi, Diourra, Koumaga, Nantaka, and Menaka must be reversed. Human rights violations and abuses by security forces only serve to fuel violence, instability, and recruitment to terrorist organizations. In this resolution, the Council is united in declaring that respect for human rights and accountability are not optional. Violations by security forces have consequences.
I would note that in the twenty-second preambular paragraph and in operative paragraph 61, the resolution includes the words “in matters that are within its jurisdiction” in reference to the International Criminal Court. The United States interprets these words to mean in matters that are within the ICC’s jurisdiction under international law. We note that Mali is a State Party to the Rome Statute, has consented to ICC jurisdiction, and has “self-referred” its situation to the ICC pursuant to Article 14 of the Rome Statute. As we have stated previously, the United States respects the decisions of those nations that have chosen to join the ICC, and in turn, we expect that our decision not to join and not to place our citizens under the court’s jurisdiction will also be respected.
Mr. President, we look forward to successful elections, to the next president’s full commitment to the peace accord, and to the parties’ swift and significant progress toward its implementation. Their collective effort is the only way to achieve the political solutions the people of Mali deserve on their way to a brighter future.