BAMAKO, OCTOBER 21 – The member of the Security Council mission in Sahel flew back to Bamako yesterday night and took part today in the Malian capital in a meeting with the CSA (Comité de Suivi de l’Accord), the main follow-up mechanism to the 2015 Agreement, to work on the 2015 Mali peace and reconciliation process.
The Italian Permanent Representative Sebastiano Cardi, who is leading g the mission with his colleagues from France and Ethiopia, described a frank and open exchange of ideas among the parties which allowed the Council to obtain important elements to foster the dialogue and the actions in support of the peace agreement implementation. The CSA includes members of the government, representatives of the Coordination and Platform coalitions of armed groups, and representatives of the International Mediation led by Algeria. At the meeting, Council members delivered several key messages to the CSA. They stressed the need to prevent the gains achieved in Mali from being reversed. Reiterating the substance of their 6 October press statement, they encouraged the parties to take urgent and concrete action to fully deliver on their obligations under the Agreement. Some Council members raised with the CSA the importance of political will and leadership in making difficult decisions. Others emphasised the significance of national ownership, noting that support for Malian efforts cannot be a substitute for the engagement of Malians themselves
While in Bamako, the member of the Council met with women organizations, who raised concerns about the limited participation of women in the political process, and representatives of the UN mission MINUSMA and of the European missions in the region Eucap, Eutm and Barkhane. Tomorrow the Council will visit the G5Sahel force headquarters to evaluate the progress made since its creation last June.
At the end of the day the co-leads of the visiting mission—Council President Ambassador François Delattre (France), Ambassador Tekeda Alemu (Ethiopia) and Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi (Italy)—highlighted in a press conference the willingness of G5 Sahel governments to allocate resources to fight against a terrorist threat that has implications beyond their borders, and the request by a broad range of stakeholders regarding the need to support the joint force multilaterally through the Security Council. Asked about the kind of UN support all Council members could agree on, Delattre stated that the circumstances for Council support seem more favorable than during the negotiations of resolution 2359 in June, given the progress made in operationalising the joint force in just a few months.
The future of the G5 force has already been discussed among the members of the Council on the base of the four options for supporting the joint force laid out by the Secretary-General in his 16 October report (S/2017/869). These are: 1. Security Council mandated UN support package 2. Security Council mandated logistical and soft support package 3. Support requiring an adjustment to the MINUSMA mandate 4. Support that could be provided by MINUSMA under its current mandate.
While the US and others have expressed their preference for supporting the force bilaterally, most Council members are willing to provide support through the UN. The Secretary-General, whose first option would entail the establishment of a dedicated office funded through UN assessed contributions in the manner of the UN Support Office in Somalia, has urged the Council to be ambitious.
Even though the Malian government has not expressed its preferences among the four options, it has stressed the need for UN support that should be sustainable and long-term. In broadly discussing the options, some Council members stressed how the force could help make the case for a more far-reaching Council response regarding financing if it performs well, while complying with human rights and international humanitarian law. (@OnuItalia)