Explanation of Vote on the Renewal of the Mandate for the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)

Ambassador Richard Mills
Deputy U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
June 29, 2021


Thank you, Mr. President. The United States would also like to thank Council members for their collaborative negotiation. And we are also grateful for France’s collegiality in developing the draft resolution and in conducting negotiations.

As I begin this explanation of vote, I know all our thoughts are with the 13 German peacekeepers wounded in the IED attack on June 25 while serving in MINUSMA. The United States condemns this attack in the strongest terms.

In light of MINUSMA’s immense tasks, my delegation reiterates that a clear line must be maintained between counterterrorism-mandated operations and peacekeeping missions in order to protect the UN’s impartiality, its personnel, and its effectiveness. The G5 Sahel governments – not the Security Council – direct the Joint Force, which is a coalition of domestic forces conducting offensive counterterrorism operations within their own countries. To this end, we must work together to find options to relieve MINUSMA of its reimbursable support through the UN-EU-G5 Sahel technical agreement to the G5 Sahel Joint Force. We also recall that MINUSMA and other UN support to regional actors must be conditioned on strict compliance with the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy and must be supported by credible and robust verification mechanisms.

With regard to the new mandate requesting the Secretary-General to report on options to increase support to the Joint Force, we reiterate that Chapter VII authorization is not appropriate for the Joint Force. Further, the United States does not support using any source of UN funding to establish a UN Support Office for the Joint Force. We encourage the Secretary-General to explore the full spectrum of bilateral and multilateral options outside of MINUSMA and the UN more generally.

We agree that the G5 Sahel is a crucial part of a sustainable solution for stability and prosperity in the Sahel. The United States is a committed partner to G5 Sahel, and we have obligated more than $588 million to provide security assistance and other countering-violent extremism support to the G5 countries since Fiscal Year 2017. For the people of the Sahel, the U.S. government has provided more than $2 billion in health and development, security, and humanitarian assistance. We will continue to support the Sahel through appropriate mechanisms.

Moving to climate change, we were dismayed that the Council failed to take the needed steps to increase UN information gathering in order to increase Council understanding of how climate-related security risks affect Mali. As we know, impacts of climate change can exacerbate underlying political, social, and economic conditions, possibly leading to new or renewed conflict, food and water scarcity, and mass migration that threatens to undermine peace and stability. The impacts of climate change can also undermine our ability to successfully execute peacekeeping operations and other shared security priorities.

Finally, let me end with a note about the ongoing transition in Mali. It is critical that the February 2022 elections be free and fair and result in a transition to democratic governance by April 2022, which will support conditions for stability and address social grievances. We strongly support the ECOWAS parameter that the head of state and prime minister are not – under any circumstances – to be candidates in the presidential election. And we also reiterate our call for the immediate and unconditional release and humane treatment of those still being held in detention and under house arrest following the events of May 24.

Thank you, Mr. President.