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

U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
June 29, 2020

Submitted to the UN Security Council on June 29, 2020.

The United States would like to thank Council members for their collaboration during the negotiations. We are grateful for France for conducting the negotiations. As we renew the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) for its eighth year, this Council and the international community must be honest about where we find ourselves in Mali and courageous about how we move forward. Mali remains at the center of the region’s spreading instability. The Government of Mali and the Signatory Armed Groups are far from implementing the 2015 Algiers Peace Agreement. Security in Mali continues to deteriorate as terrorist groups expand their territory, fuel intercommunal conflict, and kill at will. The victims of this terrible dynamic continue to be the Malian people, who often are forced to choose between living under radical armed groups, callous self-defense forces, or a complacent government, including security forces accused of abusing the civilians they are designed to protect. We commend MINUSMA’s role as the vanguard to establish peace and security since 2013, however, this has come at a steep cost. Hundreds of peacekeepers have died and many more have been wounded while MINUSMA’s budget continues to grow.

Determined to change this dynamic and to make a difference for the people in the region, the United States began these negotiations with the objective to incentivize the signatories to implement the Algiers Accord and to increase the mission’s efficiency and effectiveness, moving closer to a situation where the mission is no longer needed. While we know this mandate could have done far more to achieve these objectives, we firmly believe it moves MINUSMA in the right direction.

The mandate includes realistic benchmarks for implementation of the Algiers Accord designed to spur the parties to action and hold spoilers to account one year from now. The mandate also requests the Secretary-General to conduct and deliver in full to the UN Security Council (UNSC) a roadmap that provides benchmarks and a proposed timeline for MINUSMA’s gradual transition and exit. Regional security entities, such as the G5 Sahel Joint Force, need not be fully operational to have an impact. The roadmap should include input from a wide-range of stakeholders to provide diverse perspectives on the way forward. We all know that MINUSMA cannot remain in Mali indefinitely, and so we must encourage the parties to begin now to prepare for the time when they will assume full responsibility for the peace and stability of their country. There is no greater incentive to the parties than knowing that the responsibility for peace and stability lies with themselves.

This new resolution focuses on improving MINUSMA’s efficiency and effectiveness by supporting the Force Commander’s adaptation plan and increasing troop, police, and civilian personnel quality through greater accountably and reporting by the Secretary-General. Increasing peacekeeping performance remains a top priority for the United States. It begins with the Secretary-General holding his staff in New York accountable and continues with MINUSMA’s Special Representative to the Secretary-General (SRSG) holding personnel accountable for high performance. This commitment to excellence must be reflected at every level, including the lowest-ranking soldier and or civilian staff officer who daily interacts with the community.

All personnel in MINUSMA, including civilian and military, must respect the dignity of all people, which is why we believe every mandate should continue to thoroughly address the scourge of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA). We must ensure that allegations of SEA are investigated, likewise it is vital for relevant member states to take preventative actions, ensure accountability, and bring perpetrators to justice.

We note this resolution expands MINUSMA’s authority to place contracts outside of Mali, as part of the technical agreement to support the G5 Sahel Joint Force that is fully reimbursed by the European Union. We hesitated to support such an expansion because we do not want the G5 Sahel Joint Force to become dependent on MINUSMA. The Force must begin building its own contracting and logistics capability within the G5 Sahel Executive Secretariat. The United States intends to closely monitor the expansion of this mechanism. If at anytime it becomes known that UN assessed contributions are going to support this mechanism, to include staffing or liability disputes, or it becomes known that the mechanism is violating UN procurement rules, or that MINUSMA support is going to units which do not abide by the UN Human Rights and Due Diligence Policy, the United States will quickly move to end the mechanism in its entirety. We also emphasize this is not a procurement precedent to be applied to other UN peacekeeping operations.

We reiterate that individuals and entities designated by the UNSC Mali Sanctions Committee must not benefit from any financial, operational, or logistical support from United Nations entities deployed in Mali until they are removed from the list, or unless the Sanctions Committee authorizes an exemption request. The UN must speak with one voice on Mali, and MINUSMA’s efforts must not undermine the work of the UNSC Mali Sanctions Committee.

Finally, we note that this resolution contains references to the International Criminal Court (ICC), and reiterate our longstanding and principled objection to any assertion of the ICC jurisdiction over nationals of States that are not party to the Rome Statute, absent a UN Security Council referral or consent of such States. Our objections regarding the ICC and the situation in Afghanistan are well known.

The United States has historically been, and will continue to be, a strong supporter of meaningful accountability and justice for victims of atrocities through appropriate mechanisms. Perpetrators of atrocity crimes must face justice, but we must also be careful to recognize the right tool for each situation. Our position on the ICC in no way diminishes the United States’ commitment to supporting accountability for atrocity crimes, violations of international humanitarian law, and gross violations of human rights.

We salute the soldiers, police, civilians, and contractors of MINUSMA who risk their lives for the people of Mali. The United States honors the sacrifices they and their families make each day. We continue to emphasize the importance of the full, effective and meaningful participation of women within MINUSMA and the peace process as a whole. Most of all, we hope that the Malian parties see in this resolution a clear, collective message: they must take urgent steps to implement the Algiers Accord in order to create stability in Mali and opportunity for its people.