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Consultations on Mali: Moving Beyond Restoration of Constitutional Order

Tomorrow morning (16 January), the Security Council is scheduled to receive a briefing by Albert Gerard Koenders, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), followed by consultations. Although at press time no draft outcome had been circulated, some Council members have shown interest in following up the discussions with a presidential statement.

Council members will be interested in the assessment of the security situation in Mali, as the latest Secretary-General’s report notes “a marked deterioration of the security situation in the north” (S/2014/1) in the last three months. The report also highlights how terrorist groups have “reorganised themselves and regained some ability to operate”. Council members are likely to raise concerns over the security situation in northern Mali following recent attacks targeting MINUSMA—including two suicide attacks which resulted in the death of four peacekeepers in Tessalit (23 October) and Kidal (14 December), the clashes between the Mouvement National pour la Libération de l’Azawad and the Malian armed forces violating the 18 June Ouagadougou Agreement’s ceasefire, and episodes of inter-communal violence.

Council members might welcome recent developments in the return to constitutional order in Mali, such as the holding of legislative elections. The organisation of these elections was praised by regional organisations such as the EU and the Economic Community of West African States . As Mali enters this new phase of political legitimacy, Council members might want to know more about progress made in the transition process, and the need for the implementation of the Ouagadougou Agreement between the government and armed groups. Council members are expected to seek clarification on the limitations of the dialogue mechanisms established by the government and how MINUSMA is carrying out its good offices mandate in order to ensure that the parties address old grievances and root causes and agree upon a sustainable solution for peace. In addition, Council members may be looking for more information on why there have been no meetings of the two follow-up mechanisms to the Ouagadougou Agreement in November and December.

Council members might also want to get more clarity over transitional justice and accountability mechanisms which are briefly mentioned in the latest report of the Secretary-General, as well as its interaction with the current dialogue mechanisms and the broader goal of reconciliation. There might also be interest in the significance of the 27 November arrest of the 22 March 2012 coup leader General Amadou Sanogo, who is facing charges of complicity in kidnapping and murder, and whether this development is part of a broader effort to prosecute wrongdoers of crimes committed during the coup.

Council members are aware of the challenges MINUSMA has faced in reaching its full operational capacity. A surge is expected to start this month to bring it to full operational capacity and Council members may be interested in getting information on progress in this regard. (On 10 December, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet told Council members that most units had been generated and that full operational capacity was expected to be fully reached by the end of March, nine months after deployment.) In light of the drawdown of French troops in Mali, the limitations of MINUSMA’s operations in the north and the security threats it faces, Council members are expected to ask the Secretariat to speed up the process as much as possible.

Although the interaction between French forces and MINUSMA was the focus of a discussion in consultations in December, some Council members might decide to ask for further clarification regarding mismatched information on incidents in the Secretary-General’s report and a letter circulated by France on the activities carried out by its forces in support of MINUSMA since 1 October (S/2014/12).

A draft presidential statement—drafted by France—will likely be circulated to the broader Council after the consultations. Council members expect the statement to welcome the holding of the legislative elections in November and December, urge the Malian government to reinvigorate an inclusive political process, call for MINUSMA’s full deployment as soon as possible and stress the Council’s support to Koenders and MINUSMA.

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