Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
April 6, 2021
Thank you, Mr. President. And let me start by thanking you for your kind words and to wish you the best of luck during your month’s presidency of the Council. Let me thank Under-Secretary-General Lacroix for your briefing today. And I also want to thank SRSG Annadif for his service. We would also like to extend a warm welcome to SRSG Wane. We look forward to his arrival to the mission and we wish him great success.
Today, I’d like to discuss three aspects of MINUSMA and the situation in Mali: violence against people and peacekeepers, violations and abuses of human rights, and the need for free and fair elections on schedule.
First, the United States extends its deepest sympathies to the victims of terrorism in Mali and their families, including the MINUSMA peacekeepers killed and injured in recent attacks.
Each time we convene the Council to discuss the situation in Mali it seems that national or international security forces are reeling from a deadly attack. Just as in January, today we meet after a brazen and devastating attack on a MINUSMA base, in which gunmen killed four Chadian peacekeepers and injured dozens more. On that very same day, gunmen attacked a Malian military base, killing and injuring soldiers.
We condemn this violence in the strongest terms possible, and we commend the bravery and dedication of our peacekeepers. The safety and security of peacekeepers is a priority for the United States, and we will continue to take concrete action to strengthen peacekeeper safety. That includes implementing the Action Plan to Improve the Security of UN Peacekeepers, and providing training and equipment through the U.S. Global Peace Operations Initiative to troop and police contributing partners.
Second, Malian authorities and regional security actors must end human rights violations and abuses. That especially includes ending all gender-based violence. We’re encouraged to see additional steps taken by Malian authorities to prosecute those responsible for these crimes.
Thorough investigations and accountability for wrongdoing are necessary to increase trust in government. And that means looking into the allegations against the Malian defense and security forces, government-aligned armed groups, and regional security actors like the G5 Sahel Joint Force. Unjustifiable killings and other abuses by security forces will only further destabilize the Sahel and exacerbate people’s mistrust of their government.
Finally, we need to make sure free and fair elections happen on time.
We commend Mali’s National Transition Council’s adoption of the transition government’s ambitious action plan. The dissolution of the military junta in January was an important step toward a peaceful and democratic transition. Now the top priority must be organizing and holding free and fair elections by the end of the transition period. These must be administered by competent and impartial election authorities using transparent processes. So, we strongly encourage Malian authorities to issue a finalized timeline confirming dates for the electoral process and to fully use MINUSMA’s election support capacities.
The transition government must also make a renewed effort to make tangible and significant progress in implementing the Algiers Accord. We echo the Secretary-General’s encouragement that the signatory parties remain within the agreed framework. Reopening the accord would impede implementation. Let me repeat that: reopening the accord would impede implementation. February’s meeting of the Algiers Accord Monitoring Committee, which was held in northern Mali for the first time ever, is a symbol of increased attention in advancing the implementation of the Algiers Accord.
We are particularly heartened to see women’s increased participation in the peace process, and we call for full, effective, and meaningful participation going forward. Women should fill seats at every table and at every level. If solutions are being discussed, and decisions are being made, women should be there.
As the largest humanitarian donor to the Sahel region, the United States remains a steadfast partner to the Malian people. We recently announced more than $80 million in humanitarian assistance to the region. This aid will provide shelter, clean drinking water, emergency food assistance, and hygiene services for refugees, internally displaced, and vulnerable host communities.
But what is needed is peace and stability. We look forward to Mali moving toward a stable transition and sustainable reform. It is a future the people of Mali deserve.
Thank you, Mr. President.