The UN Security Council extends the mandate of MINUSMA for one year amid criticism from Bamako

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June 30. (EUROPA PRESS) –

The United Nations Security Council has approved a one-year extension of the mandate of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), amid the withdrawal of French and Western troops due to tensions with the Malian military junta .

The vote has resulted in thirteen votes in favor and two abstentions –China and Russia– and contemplates the extension of the mission’s mandate until June 30, 2023, without changes in the deployment of 13,289 soldiers and 1,920 policemen or in strategic priorities.

Thus, the resolution authorizes the mission to use “all necessary means” to fulfill its mandate, whose main priority is “to support the implementation of the (peace) agreement between the Malian parties (…) and the political transition “.

Other priorities include “facilitating the implementation by Malian actors of a comprehensive and inclusive political strategy aimed at combating the root causes and drivers of violent conflict, protecting civilians, reducing intercommunal violence, and restoring the presence and the authority of the State and the social services in the center of Mali”.

In this way, the UN Security Council has supported the proposal of the organization’s Secretary General, António Guterres, to carry out an internal review of MINUSMA within a period of six months, for which it must present a report “on January 13, 2023, at the latest” in view of the “future configuration of MINUSMA, the level of troops and the maximum troops.”

Guterres’ proposals must also include “a detailed analysis of the political and security problems that have an impact on the mission’s ability to carry out its mandate” and an evaluation of cooperation with the Malian authorities.

The UN Security Council has also shown its concern over the increase in reports of human rights violations by the Malian security forces in the framework of operations against jihadism, especially in the center and north of the african country.

For his part, the Malian representative before the body, Issa Kounfouro, has said that Bamako takes note of the decision, although he has shown his reservations and has said that he “deeply regrets” that some of them have been ignored in the final version of the resolution.

Along these lines, he has reiterated the “firm opposition” of the authorities regarding the freedom of movement of MINUSMA to carry out its mandate at the level of Human Rights and has added that Mali “has cooperated in good faith” with the mission since its establishment in 2013.

Kounfouro has argued that, however, “the movements of MINUSMA cannot be carried out without an agreement with the competent Malian authorities” and has pointed out that Bamako “is not in a position to guarantee the freedom of movement” of the ‘blue helmets’ ‘.

Likewise, it has stressed that the investigations into the complaints of human rights violations, including massacres of civilians, are the responsibility of the Malian authorities and has stressed that, although the mission can provide support in this regard, it cannot “replace” investigations carried out by the Government.

Finally, he stressed that the country’s population hopes that MINUSMA “contributes to the search for lasting solutions” to the problems that plague the country, without following “hidden political interests”, while thanking China and Russia for abstaining from the vote.

The extension of MINUSMA’s mandate comes after France and its allies announced in February the troops deployed in the framework of the ‘Barkhane’ operation and the Takuba Force, sent to Mali to help Bamako in the fight against jihadism, in the face of tensions with the military junta in the African country.

Tensions have been on the rise in recent months due to the military junta’s announcement of lengthening the transition process and the alleged deployment of mercenaries from the Wagner Group, something that has been denied by Bamako and Moscow, which speak of regular military cooperation .

The transitional government has admitted the presence of Russian military instructors in the country, under a mandate similar to the one granted to the European Union training mission, amid Western suspicions about the increase in Russian influence in Africa.

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Written by Editor TLN

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