Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
Acting Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
June 14, 2021
Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Special Representative Wane and Ms. Maiga, for your briefings today. Yet again we are meeting following another attack on MINUSMA peacekeepers. I join my colleagues in expressing condolences to the brave peacekeepers injured in the attack.
We join members of the international community in calling for Mali to transition, on schedule, to a democratically elected government. We support the establishment by ECOWAS of a mechanism to monitor compliance with the transition period and the holding of presidential elections on February 27, 2022, as already scheduled.
We support ECOWAS’ statement following its extraordinary summit on May 30, including the call for the immediate release of detainees and those under house arrest; strict adherence to the transition period of 18 months with a civilian prime minister and inclusive government; and the transition president, vice president, and prime minister to not, under any circumstance, be candidates in the upcoming presidential election.
We reiterate our condemnation of the detention and subsequent house arrest of the former transition president, prime minister, and other officials. Their detention is a direct assault on the country’s ongoing transition to the return of democracy and on the rule of law.
The United States will work with our partners throughout the region to support respect for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. We will consider a range of foreign policy options in response to any actions that impede the transition to a duly elected government. We stand firmly with the people of Mali in their aspirations for democracy, peace, development, and respect for human rights.
It is critical that the February 2022 elections be free and fair, and are administered by competent and impartial election authorities using transparent processes. We strongly urge the transition government to ensure the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women in the elections. Women should be both on the ballot and registered to vote.
At the same time, the transition government must not lose sight of its primary responsibility for protection of civilians and human rights. The transition government must create conditions for stability and address social grievances. This requires the full implementation of the Algiers Accord, especially meaningful inclusion of women and women-led civil society organization in the Accord’s implementation. Further, the transition government must work to reestablish state authority, including civil, judicial, and security, throughout the country, and take credible steps to combat all forms of impunity, especially related to violations of human rights and abuses.
The renewal of MINUSMA’s mandate must be responsive to the fragile transition to democratic governance, provide the needed logistical and security support to the February 2022 elections, and prioritize both the protection of civilians and implementation of the Algiers Accord.
But MINUSMA is only one piece of a sustainable peace in Mali. And it cannot replace the Malian government. The transition government must take greater ownership and credible steps to combat impunity and protect civilians throughout Mali.
In light of MINUSMA’s immense tasks, we reiterate that it is important to maintain a clear line between counterterrorism and peacekeeping to protect the UN’s impartiality and personnel. Neither UN-assessed peacekeeping funds, nor Chapter VII authorization, are appropriate for supporting the G5 Sahel Joint Force, an offensive counterterrorism operation. The Joint Force is a coalition of domestic forces and is directed by the G5 Sahel governments and not the UN Security Council.
The United States is a committed partner to the G5 Sahel countries. We support the G5 Sahel Joint Force with equipment, training, and advisory support to fill critical capability gaps on a bilateral basis. In the past four years we have committed more than $580 million to provide security assistance and other countering-violent extremism support to Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. In addition to our bilateral support, we are committed to working with Council partners on identifying ways to support the region together.
Thank you, Mr. President.