What's In Blue

Posted Mon 16 Nov 2020

Briefing on Mali Sanctions

Tuesday morning (17 November), Ambassador José Singer Weisinger (Dominican Republic) will brief the Council in his capacity as chair of the Mali 2374 Sanctions Committee. This is the annual briefing by the chair on the work of the committee. Few other Council members, if any, are expected to make statements.

In what is likely to be a short statement, Ambassador Singer Weisinger will report on the meetings that the committee has held in 2020. In addition to meetings in February and August (the latter via videoconference) to discuss the Panel of Experts’ mid-term and final reports, respectively, he is likely to refer to the 2 March meeting of the 2374 Sanctions Committee with Mali and regional states: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger and Guinea. A committee press release after the session noted that Mali recalled it had requested the regime’s establishment as an additional instrument to accelerate the implementation of the 2015 Mali Peace and Reconciliation Agreement. Algeria, the chief mediator of the accord, suggested that the sanctions regime be firmly linked to the primary objective of promoting the implementation of the agreement.

Singer Weisinger may observe the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the committee’s work. Since the sanctions regime’s establishment in September 2017, the committee chair has led three missions to Mali, but this year a committee visit was not possible. In total, eight individuals have been sanctioned under the regime—subjected to an assets freeze and travel ban—for obstructing the implementation of the peace agreement.

Singer Weisinger’s last Council briefing on the work of the Mali Sanctions Committee was on 8 October 2019, about a week before leading a committee delegation that visited Mali from 16 to 18 October 2019. During the visit, the delegation met with a range of interlocutors, including the High Representative for the implementation of the Peace Agreement, facilitators of the inclusive national dialogue, individuals listed on the 2374 sanctions list, representatives of signatory and non-signatory armed groups, civil society, MINUSMA and other international actors in Mali. While the delegation met with representatives from the Malian government, it was unable to meet with ministerial-level government officials.

In Mali, members found a low level of understanding of the sanctions regime, and recognised the need to increase awareness about the sanctions measures and their purpose. Another issue that committee members have discussed is the fact that all designated individuals are from northern Mali, including the one designated parliamentarian. No one from the government has been sanctioned. This is despite government officials also having hindered the agreement’s implementation. In its most recent final report, dated 13 August, the Panel states that “key government officials responsible for implementing those actions and policies should be held accountable in accordance with Security Council resolution 2374”.

Since the Panel’s final report, military officers overthrew President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and his government in an 18 August coup d’état. Less than two weeks after the coup, the Council adopted resolution 2541, extending the Mali sanctions regime for another year. In the resolution, the Council reiterated its condemnation of the mutiny, adding that it was ready to “discuss this matter…in light of the potential implications of these recent developments on the implementation of the Agreement”. Since the coup, Council members have sought to support and give time for ECOWAS mediation efforts, which by early October had led to the establishment of a transitional government to oversee an 18-month transition period until new elections can be held. A Council presidential statement subsequently welcomed these transitional agreements, and set out expectations that Malian stakeholders fulfil their commitments in the transitional charter, as well as continue implementation of the 2015 peace agreement, efforts to stabilise central Mali, and the fight against terrorism.