General Assembly Security Council

UNSC Briefing & Consultations (VTC) on MINUSMA
[Wednesday, 13 January 2021; 1000 hrs]

Statement by

Ambassador K. Nagaraj Naidu

Deputy Permanent Representative

Thank you, Mr. President.

 
          I would like to start by thanking SRSG and head of UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) Mr. Mahamat Saleh Annadif for his insightful briefing on the political and security situation in Mali and updating us on the activities of MINUSMA.

 

2.       I express my condolences over the recent unfortunate deaths of Malian defense personnel, MINUSMA peacekeepers and French soldiers. We should not lose sight of the fact that the seeds of the crisis in Mali were sown in the Libyan conflict in 2011. The return of fighters to Northern Mali and proliferation of weapons out of Libya contributed to the Tuareg rebellion in the North. 

 

3.       The main reason for the coup d’état and overthrow of the civilian government in 2012 was the alleged mishandling of the situation in Northern Mali. The situation further worsened due to the offensive by terrorist and extremist armed groups in Southern Mali in early 2013. MINUSMA took over from the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA) in July 2013. 

 

4.       Despite MINUSMA’s presence for nearly eight years and the continued efforts of the international community, particularly France, Mali is still witnessing a repeat of same set of events of 2012. The political situation remains precarious; the Malian government is facing capacity issues, along with issues related to lack of resources; security situation in central and northern Mali remains worrisome; terrorist groups such as Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin’ (JNIM) and the Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS) are growing in strength; and, attacks against civilians, MINUSMA, Malian security and defence forces, international forces and humanitarian agencies are continuing unabated. 

 

Mr. President, 

 

5.       MINUSMA is overburdened with a huge mandate, but lack of commensurate resources is affecting its functioning. Therefore, while discussing the situation in Mali and MINUSMA, we need to be cognizant of factors contributing to the prolonged crisis in the country. In this context, I would like to make the following observations:

 

i)        The political developments in the last three months in Mali provide reasons for cautious optimism in the coming days. The appointment of the civilian President and Prime Minister, the formation of the Transitional Government, issuance of a Transitional Charter & Road Map and constitution of 121-member National Transition Council (CNT), are all welcome developments. The Transitional Government has also shown commitment to advance the implementation of the Peace Agreement and has accommodated stakeholders from the north in the CNT. While implementation of the Peace Agreement is critical for stability in the North, addressing issues concerning central Mali,  deserve an equally close attention of the authorities. 

 

ii)       An expeditious progress on institutional, political and electoral reforms is needed to achieve the ambitious target of holding elections by the end of the 18 month transition period. Recommendations of the National Inclusive Dialogue provide a basis to build consensus around issues of national importance. We welcome the setting up of a Transitional Support Group by the AU and a Follow-up Committee by ECOWAS, and hope that there will be positive progress in the coming months.

 

iii)      Re-establishing State presence and State authority is fundamental to achieving peace and stability in Mali.  International community should support Mali in its efforts towards effective restoration of state institutions, civil administration and judicial entities, particularly in the north and central Mali. Towards this end, necessary training and capacity building of the civilian establishment as well as support for ongoing Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) process will be important. The operations of Malian defence and security forces require constant support from MINUSMA. 

 

iv)      We have taken note of SG’s update on MINUSMA’s operations, security challenges and transition plan, including a possible exit strategy. MINUSMA is playing an important role in stabilizing the security situation in Mali through its political and military support to the peace process, along with its confidence-building measures. We applaud the efforts of MINUSMA peacekeepers, who are functioning under complex and difficult circumstances. 

 

v)       If MINUSMA has to carry out its mandate more effectively, it must be adequately equipped with resources. The quest for more with increasingly scarce resources will be counterproductive. I would like to inform that my Government will consider positively Secretary General’s proposal for deployment of air assets in MINUSMA. Earlier, India had also contributed US $ 1 million to AFISMA fund in 2013.

 

v)       The menace of terrorism cannot be tackled alone by Mali or any one State in the Sahel region. The Joint Force of the Group of Five for the Sahel (FC-G5S), therefore, requires more robust support from the Council and from the international community. 

 

vi)      We support the mediation role of ECOWAS and AU in the process towards the restoration of the constitutional order. SRSG should continue to work closely with ECOWAS and AU in extending all possible assistance to the Transitional Government in the transition period. 

 

Mr. President,

 

6.       India believes that continuing support of the international community at this critical time is crucial for Mali. For its part, India has extended soft loans totalling US $ 353.6 million for various developmental projects, including in the power sector, in Mali. 

 

7.       India also offers a significant number of training slots for Malian officials under its Technical and Economic Cooperation training programme. Mali is one of the beneficiaries of the Duty Free Trade Preference Scheme enjoying zero duty on nearly 95% of its exports to India. Earlier this year, India also provided critical medicines to Mali to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

8.       India extended its full support to Mali’s Transitional Government following its recognition by ECOWAS and the AU. India also supported Mali’s continued membership of the Governing Council of the Community of Democracies. 

 

9.       In conclusion, Mr. President, I would like to reiterate India’s commitment to support Mali to overcome the present political and security crisis. 

 

I thank you.