Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on Mali

Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
Acting Deputy Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
April 12, 2023


Thank you, Special Representative Wane, for your briefing.

We are pleased to see that the Secretary-General’s report focuses on the four parameters included in the UN strategic review of MINUSMA. These are essential benchmarks for assessing the continued viability of this mission. We urge the transition government of Mali to demonstrate immediate progress on the political transition, the implementation of the Algiers Accord, MINUSMA’s freedom of movement, and the mission’s ability to implement the entirety of its mandate – including human rights provisions.

I have to say that it is unacceptable that the Malian authorities denied nearly 300 flight requests during the reporting period. This threatens the safety and security of the peacekeepers serving in Mali and hinders their ability to implement their mandate. While we fully support MINUSMA’s efforts to resolve these restrictions, we emphasize the transition government’s obligations under its Status of Forces Agreement to ensure MINUSMA’s freedom of movement and access.

We are greatly concerned by the transition government’s decision to expel MINUSMA’s human rights chief. We condemn the continued obstruction of the UN’s human rights mandates in Mali and reject the assertion that human rights are being “politicized.” This Council has mandated MINUSMA to report impartially on the human rights situation in Mali, and interference with its ability to carry out that mandate is unacceptable. We urge the mission to ensure all information-sharing arrangements are in full compliance with the UN’s Human Rights Due Diligence Policy.

We are also greatly concerned that the Malian transition government did not issue visas to the UN Mali Panel of Experts. Without on-the-ground reporting from the Panel, the Sanctions Committee is impacted. We call on all members to cooperate with the Panel of Experts and facilitate their travel.

As we recognize the one-year anniversary of the civilian massacre in Moura, we are disappointed the UN has not released its report of the incident. The Malian people deserve an honest and transparent accounting of this incident, and of all allegations of human rights violations and abuses within their borders. Furthermore, this Council needs to have all the facts on hand before entering into negotiations to renew the MINUSMA mandate.

While we are concerned by the postponement of the March 9 constitutional referendum, we nonetheless commend the preparations and progress made by transition authorities on fulfilling an ambitious timeline for elections.

We offer our full support to MINUSMA and its UN partners as they provide critical technical assistance and capacity-building support to ensure that Malians can safely go to the polls and see constitutional rule successfully restored.

The lack of progress toward resuming the normal functioning of the Algiers Accord implementation mechanisms is of significant concern, as well. The tireless efforts of MINUSMA, the Algerian government, and the international mediation to revitalize these mechanisms are commendable – but responsibility for overcoming the impasse lies with the signatory armed groups and transition authorities. Parties should demonstrate renewed commitment to the Accord.

As the Secretary-General wrote in his review of the mission, MINUSMA’s success hinges on the full cooperation of the Malian authorities. It would be irresponsible of the Security Council to continue to deploy peacekeepers in conditions where they cannot succeed. We urge the Malian transition government to end its restrictions on MINUSMA and to demonstrate that it will carry out its political commitments.