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Official speeches and statements - April 7, 2020

Published on April 7, 2020

1. United Nations - Mali - Statement by the Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council (New York - April 7, 2020)

M. le Président,

Je remercie le représentant spécial pour son intervention.

I will insist on four points.

First, allow me to highlight the dynamic created by the Pau Summit. It reaffirmed the G5 Sahel countries and France’s determination to fight against terrorism and to reestablish peace, security and development in this region.

We acknowledge that improving security is necessary. But we must also have better governance and development to enable a sustainable ownership by national authorities and to improve the populations’ living conditions.

Therefore, we have established a Coalition for the Sahel, with a view to better integrate the fight against terrorism, the build-up of national capacities, the support to the return of the State, and humanitarian and development programs.

Against this backdrop, France welcomes recent and positive steps in the implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali. These include the start of the deployment of the reconstituted army in Kidal and other towns, the visit of the Prime Minister to the North, and progress in women’s participation to the peace process. I commend MINUSMA for its work, which was instrumental in these achievements.

A lot of work is still needed and France encourages the Malian parties to accelerate the implementation of the Agreement. It includes necessary progress regarding institutional reforms and the completion of the deployment of the reconstituted army, based on agreed criteria.

The first round of the legislative elections, on 29 March, was an important outcome of the national inclusive dialogue. Unfortunately it was marked by a context of insecurity and the COVID-19 pandemic. We are concerned by the abduction of Soumaïla Cissé, leader of the opposition, and we call for his swift liberation.

The third point is the security situation, which remains worrying. Terrorist groups, in particular those affiliated to Daech or Al Qaïda, have proven their capacity to adjust. We condemn yesterday’s attack against the Malian army in Bamba.

However, we see reasons for hope. Following the Pau Summit, France and its G5 Sahel partners have inaugurated joint structures and stepped-up their operations. The results are here. Dozens of terrorists have been neutralized since January and, in March, the G5 Sahel Joint Force has conducted, in the three-border zone, an operation unprecedented by its scale. We reiterate our call for more support to this Force.

Another positive development is the launch of the Takuba Task Force to support the Malian army and its endorsement by eleven European countries. France thanks Belgium and Estonia, members of the Security Council, who are among those who have pledged troops.

The last point is the humanitarian and human rights situation in the context of the COVID crisis.

France is concerned with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Mali. We welcome the efforts of UN agencies and their partners. They need to be supported. It is also key to ensure a safe and unimpeded humanitarian access to all the people in need.

In Central Mali, the human rights situation remains worrying. Once again, an atrocious massacre occurred in Ogossagou in February. We recognize the efforts of the government of Mali but more needs to be done. Those responsible must be arrested and prosecuted. Militias must be disarmed and the Malian security forces deployed to effectively protect populations.

We reiterate our support to MINUSMA’s adaptation plan, which has the potential to improve the effectiveness of the mission, including for the protection of civilians. Its success will depend on the allocation of appropriate resources and on the capacity to generate new forces. We call on troop contributing countries to respond to the Secretariat’s requests in this regard.

I thank you.

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