Statements made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris, June 19, 2013)
We were deeply shocked to learn of the death of more than a hundred people as a result of the floods in northern India.
In these tragic circumstances, France would like to extend its condolences to the victims’ families and express its solidarity with the Indian authorities and people.
The agreement was signed on June 18, 2013, between the transitional authorities and the armed MNLA and HCUA Tuareg groups, under the auspices of ECOWAS. The United Forces of Patriotic Resistance and the Arab Movement of Azawad also signed a declaration of adherence to this agreement.
This preliminary agreement will allow the process to resolve the crisis to continue:
- It reaffirms the principles of unity, territorial integrity for Mali and dialogue;
- It allows for the immediate return of Mali’s government and armed forces to Kidal, with the support of the African forces;
- Following the conclusion of a comprehensive agreement, the armed groups will be confined to barracks and disarmed. A joint committee, consisting of 4 members of the army and 4 members from the groups in the north, will determine the conditions and timing of the return of the army and the government once the agreement has been signed.
- The agreement provides for an inclusive dialogue which will take place within 60 days of the newly elected government taking office. This dialogue will focus on all issues relating to northern Mali: justice, reorganization of the security forces, development, administrative and territorial organization of Mali.
The international community, guarantor of the agreement, will support its implementation:
- In the area of security: AFISMA and then MINUSMA, will oversee the confinement to barracks, and support the deployment of the Malian security forces to Kidal;
- At the political level: a monitoring committee, chaired by the United Nations secretary-general’s special representative, will bring together ECOWAS, the African Union, the EU, France, the United States and the countries of the region.
- Mali’s territorial integrity has been re-established.
- Security conditions in Mali have improved overall, and there has been no large-scale attack against the Malian Armed Forces (MAF) or MINUSMA’s forces to report since May 10. Low-level fighting between the MNLA and the Malian Armed Forces took place around Anefis on June 5, when the MAF regained control of the city. The agreement signed in Ouagadougou will prevent this situation from happening again in the future.
- Our soldiers have begun to withdraw. There’s currently a plateau in troop levels in order to facilitate the establishment of MINUSMA, but the withdrawal is continuing and by the end of September there will be 2000 troops and eventually there will be 1000.
- We will continue to play a role in support of the UN force, and to support the Malian forces in the fight against terrorism for as long as necessary.
On our initiative, the Security Council adopted resolution 2100 on April 25;
Bert Koenders has been appointed as special representative by the Secretary-General.
The African AFISMA force will be effectively transformed into a stabilization operation, under the Blue Helmets, on July 1. MINUSMA will:
- comprise a maximum of 11,200 military personnel, 1,440 police officers, as well as a component of civilian experts;
- also aim to help the Malian authorities organize the elections and encourage inclusive political dialogue: the special representative who is tasked with coordinating the international community’s action to that end has been involved in the negotiations in Ouagadougou since his appointment and will chair the commission to oversee the implementation of the agreement signed in Ouagadougou.
The European training and advisory mission (EUTM):
- 22 EU member states have contributed to this mission;
- the training of an initial contingent (660 soldiers) was completed on June 8; it will therefore be operational before the elections.
- a second battalion should be trained as of the beginning of July. France is the leading contributor to this mission, which comprises 550 personnel.
At the same time, the EEAS is working on proposals for increased EU commitment in support of Mali’s internal security forces and justice system, which should be discussed at the PSC meeting at the beginning of July. Several options are being considered with respect to CSDP civilian action (extension of EUCAP Sahel Niger, expansion of EUTM’s mandate, specific mission). We are calling for urgent action by the CSDP, including support efforts in the liberated areas, in order to avoid a security vacuum.
The EU is lending support to the transition in Mali. It mobilized financial support amounting to €50 million for AFISMA. It will contribute €17 million to support the elections and an election observation mission is currently being deployed. It has also resumed its cooperation.