What's In Blue

Posted Wed 27 May 2015

Briefing on the partial signing of the peace agreement in Mali

Tomorrow (28 May), Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous will brief the Security Council under “any other business” on his recent visit to Mali. Ladsous visited Mali to attend the signing of a peace agreement in Bamako on 15 May by the government and a coalition of armed groups closely aligned with the government known as the Platform. France, the penholder on Mali, may circulate a draft presidential statement after the meeting welcoming the signing of the agreement and urging the Coordination to sign it.

Council members might be interested in hearing about efforts by the mediation team to bring about a signing by the Coordination, a coalition of armed groups seeking autonomy for the north that refused to participate in the 15 May ceremony. The Coordination had initialled the agreement a day earlier but resisted pressure to sign, highlighting some concerns it wanted addressed before it would do so. Briefing the Council under “any other business” on 7 May, Ladsous conveyed the circumstances under which the Secretariat could support this partial signing of the peace agreement. He stated that the agreement had to remain open to subsequent signatures of remaining parties, that dialogue with them must continue, that the ceasefire must be respected and that implementation of the main provisions by the signatories must begin as soon as possible.

Council members might be interested in the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali’s (MINUSMA) relations with the host government and their impact on the implementation of the mission’s mandate. During the signing ceremony in Bamako, Ladsous delivered a statement on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, warning against the utilisation of the signature by some parties as a pretext for the resumption of military operations against non-signatory groups. President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta reacted by accusing MINUSMA of partiality, a claim that MINUSMA rejected categorically in a 21 May press statement.

Ahead of the mission’s renewal next month, Council members will be interested in hearing Ladsous’ assessment of which aspects of its current mandate MINUSMA can realistically fulfil in a context where no peace agreement has been signed by all parties. Some members might inquire whether the current mandate can be implemented in view of the political stalemate and if some tasks—such as the support to the return of state authority to the north— should be contingent upon the signing of the agreement by all. Other Council members might raise the importance of MINUSMA’s role in stabilisation and support for the return of state authority to the north.

Council members are likely to inquire about the violations to the ceasefire agreement of 23 May 2014 and the declarations of cessation of hostilities of 24 July 2014 and 19 February. These include the 27 April occupation of Ménaka by the Groupe Autodéfense Touareg Imghad et Alliés and others from the Platform. So far, armed groups have refused a proposal by MINUSMA to take control of Ménaka in an effort to prevent future clashes.

Council members might ask Ladsous about the potential impact that the establishment of a sanctions regime against those violating the ceasefire would have. (In a 1 May press statement, Council members made reference to possible sanctions and expressed their intention “to evaluate next steps in light of these violations and events on the ground”.)
Finally, Council members are expected to express concerns at the asymmetric attacks targeting MINUSMA and its contractors, as well as other international actors, including non-governmental organisations. As of 30 April, 33 peacekeepers have been killed since the establishment of MINUSMA in April 2013 as a result of hostile acts. Council members may ask about the limitations of the improvements made to MINUSMA’s capabilities to counter the use of improvised explosive devices.

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