Briefing and Consultations on Mali ahead of MINUSMA’s Renewal
Tomorrow (18 June), the Security Council will hold a briefing followed by consultations on the situation in Mali. The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, will brief the Council with Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop of Mali also expected to participate. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Mali, Albert Gerard Koenders, will brief Council members in consultations. The meeting is expected to provide Council members with an opportunity to discuss the 9 June Secretary-General’s report on Mali (S/2014/403) and its recommendations regarding the renewal of the mandate of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). A resolution renewing MINUSMA is expected to be adopted next week.
Following the 16-21 May violence in Kidal, Council members may be looking for more information on the implementation of the ceasefire between the government and armed groups brokered on 23 May by Koenders and Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, the President of Mauritania and current chairman of the AU. The modalities for the implementation of the ceasefire were subsequently signed on 13 June under the auspices of MINUSMA Force Commander Major General Jean Bosco Kazura. Of particular interest to Council members will be the assessment of progress in facilitating humanitarian access, liberating prisoners and establishing an international commission of inquiry as stipulated in the terms of the ceasefire.
Council members are also expected to inquire about the current status of towns under control of armed groups, such as Kidal or Menaka, and MINUSMA’s role in the negotiations regarding handover of weapons seized by armed groups in their Kidal offensive to the Malian Defence and Security Forces (MDSF). Council members might also refer to the impact of the clashes on the humanitarian situation in the north, which has been affected by the deterioration in the security situation and led to more than 4,000 additional internally displaced persons since mid-May as well as a gap in the provision of critical basic services in areas under control of armed groups.
Against the backdrop of the 16-21 May violence in Kidal, on 28 May, Council members agreed on elements to the press in which they pledged their full support to MINUSMA for the launching of peace talks on the basis of the 18 June 2013 Ouagadougou Preliminary Agreement. Council members will also be keen to get an assessment of developments in the political track. On 30 May, Modibo Keīta, the government-appointed High Representative for the inclusive inter-Malian dialogue met with leaders of the armed groups in Ouagadougou. In early June, three armed groups that are signatories to the Ouagadougou Preliminary Agreement—the Mouvement National de Libération de l’Azawad (MNLA), the Haut Conseil pour l’Unité de l’Azawad (HCUA) and the Mouvement Arabe de l’Azawad (MAA)—met in Algiers under the auspices of Algeria to create a common platform prior to engaging in negotiations with the government. Council members will want to know more about the 9 June Algiers Declaration signed by these groups reaffirming their commitment to dialogue with the government of Mali.
On 14 June, other armed groups which are not signatories to the Ouagadougou Preliminary Agreement and are considered closer to the government, signed a common platform in Algiers. Council members may also be looking for more information on the Algerian-Malian bilateral strategic committee meeting on northern Mali and a high-level meeting to discuss the inter-Malian dialogue process with regional actors hosted by Algeria on 16 June. Koenders, who is flying to New York from Algiers, may be asked to update Council members about the prospects for success of the Algerian mediation and the efforts by MINUSMA to ensure the coherence of the political process. These developments in the political process are of interest to Council members as they comes in the wake of the Secretary-General’s request in his recent report that the political process remain the cornerstone of the implementation of MINUSMA’s mandate and that the Council reframes MINUSMA’s political role as one which includes “good offices and facilitation support” for the process, including coordination of regional and international initiatives. Due to the difficulties MINUSMA has already encountered in interacting with the government of Mali in the recent past, Council members may seek from Koenders his candid assessment of current relations with the government following the poorly coordinated and ultimately failed 21 May MDSF offensive to retake Kidal, of which MINUSMA nor Opération Serval were given any advance warning.
Council members might also want to get more clarity about the plan to transfer the centre of gravity of MINUSMA to rural areas in the north, as well as how the mission is planning on facing the serious support and security constraints laid out in the Secretary-General’s report. As of 30 April, the MINUSMA deployment stood at 8,255 total uniformed personnel, more than a third under the 12,640 authorized in resolution 2100 back on 25 April 2013. Council members are also expected to echo the 11 June press statement condemning the suicide attack which killed four Chadian peacekeepers in Aguelhok (SC/11438).