What's In Blue

Posted Fri 31 Jan 2014

Council Visiting Mission to Mali

Council members will begin a visiting mission to Mali tomorrow. (During visiting missions, the Council itself remains formally at UN Headquarters in New York and would meet here if required on any issue.) During the two-day visit Council members are expected to spend most of their time in Bamako, with a possible visit to another town north of the capital. It seems that France and Chad, which are co-leading the mission, are keen for Council members to go to the north to assess the improvements in the security situation one year after France deployed Opération Serval, however, the UN Department for Safety and Security advised against two possible towns that were suggested for a visit to the north.)

Council members are hoping to meet with the President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, as well as senior members of the government and of the recently elected parliament. While the efforts to launch national consultative initiatives on the situation in northern Mali and the full restoration of constitutional order through presidential and legislative elections in 2013 will likely be praised, Council members are also expected 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 likely to reiterate the Council’s call for an inclusive and credible negotiation process open to all communities in northern Mali with the goal of a political resolution to the crisis.

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. 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.

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 disarm and reject violence as an essential step leading to an effective disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration process in the context of a comprehensive peace settlement.

Council members are also expected to spend some time with MINUSMA personnel and to receive a briefing on the implementation of resolution 2100 which established its mandate. Of particular interest will be the operational deployment of MINUSMA and the security situation, particularly in northern Mali. Another issue that is likely to be raised with the MINUSMA leadership is the importance of achieving MINUSMA’s complete deployment without further delays in order to implement its stabilisation and protection mandate throughout the territory.

During the meetings, Council members 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.

Meetings are also likely with the EU Training Mission (EUTM) and commanders of Opération Serval. In meeting with the EUTM, Council members may be interested in the type of training being provided in relation to the wider reform of the security sector. The meeting with Opération Serval’s leadership is likely to focus on recent incidents revealing how terrorists and other armed groups have regained some ability to operate and the implementation of the mandate of the French forces to support MINUSMA when under imminent and serious threat.

What’s in Blue will be reporting from the ground in Mali during the visiting mission. Please follow our Dispatches from the Field for the latest on the Security Council and Mali.

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