February 2014 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 January 2014
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AFRICA

Visiting Mission to Mali

Expected Council Action

In February, the Council expects to receive a briefing on its visiting mission to Mali, with a written report to follow. At press time, the mission was scheduled for early February. (For further information, please follow our “Dispatches from the Field” in What’s in Blue.)

Background

From 1993 to 1999, only non-permanent members led Council visiting missions. The US was the first P5 member to lead a visiting mission when Council members visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2000. It is now rare for the P5 not to lead Council visiting missions to destinations for which they are the penholder of the relevant agenda-item. France and Chad will co-lead the Council’s first visiting mission to Mali.

Mali

In visiting Mali, Council members aim to impress on the government the need to move forward in the political process following the end of the electoral cycle and the full return of constitutional order. After recent discrepancies between the government and the leadership of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) over the preconditions to hold national peace talks, Council members are expected to highlight the need for an inclusive and credible negotiation process open to all communities of northern Mali.

A presidential statement adopted on 23 January highlighted the Council’s call to swiftly and fully implement the provisions of the 18 June 2013 Ouagadougou Preliminary Agreement, including “the cantonment of armed groups, the re-establishment of state administration throughout the country and the urgent launching of inclusive and credible peace talks”. Council members are expected to reiterate in Bamako their full support for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Mali, Albert Gerard Koenders, to use his good offices to reach a comprehensive agreement. In the 23 January statement the Council also commended Mali on the successful holding of peaceful and transparent legislative elections on 24 November and 15 December 2013.

Council members, who have often reiterated the importance of achieving MINUSMA’s complete deployment without further delays in order to implement its stabilisation and protection mandate, are expected to meet with MINUSMA’s leadership as the surge phase begins for the mission to reach its full operational capacity.

The visit to Mali is expected to convey the importance the Council places on maintaining civilian control and oversight of the army as a key element of security sector reform. Another important aim of the visit is to reiterate the Council’s demand that armed groups in Mali put aside their arms and reject violence as an essential step leading to an effective disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration process in the context of a comprehensive peace settlement.

Although it was unclear at press time if the mission would go to the north, it seems France and Chad were eager to pay a brief visit to a northern town as a way to assess the improvements in the security situation one year after France deployed Opération Serval in the north and to be briefed by its leadership on recent incidents revealing how terrorists and other armed groups have regained some ability to operate.

Council members are also expected to meet with members of the recently elected parliament, local authorities, civil society organisations and religious leaders. They are also expected to raise issues of accountability for violations and abuses of human rights, such as incidents of sexual violence in armed conflict, including against children. In their discussions with civil society organisations, Council members might also be interested in the extent of the food crisis in Mali and the conditions that internally displaced persons and refugees face upon their return.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolution
25 April 2013 S/RES/2100 This resolution established the mandate for MINUSMA.
Security Council Presidential Statements
23 January 2014 S/PRST/2014/2 The Council called on all the signatories of the 18 June Ouagadougou Preliminary Agreement to fully implement its provisions.
12 December 2013 S/PRST/2013/20 This presidential statement focused on the situation in the Sahel.
Secretary-General’s Report
2 January 2014 S/2014/1 Covered developments in MINUSMA and Mali for the period 30 September to 21 December 2013.
Security Council Letter
9 January 2014 S/2014/12 This was the second report on the actions taken by the French forces in support of MINUSMA.
Security Council Meeting Records
16 January 2014 S/PV.7095 This was a briefing by Special Representative Albert Koenders on MINUSMA and developments in Mali.
21 October 2013 S/PV.7045 The Council was briefed by the lead countries on the visiting mission to the Great Lakes Region and Addis Ababa: Morocco, France, US, UK, Rwanda and Azerbaijan.