Statement by Ambassador Jerry Matjila, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, during the Security Council Briefing on Mali, 12 June 2019

Mr President,

We wish to welcome His Excellency the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mali in the Council today. Minister we are pleased that you could joint us to discuss this important matter.

I wish to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Mali and Head of MINUSMA, Mr Mahamat Annadif for his comprehensive briefing.

In the context of recent developments, I would like to take this moment to commiserate with the Government and people of Mali for the lives lost due to the prevailing security situation in the country, particularly the violence that broke out in Sobane-Kou (Mopti region) on 9 June wherein people perished. We urge the Government of Mali to investigate these atrocious acts and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Mr. President,

My intervention today will focus on three issues, i) the security and humanitarian situation, ii) the political process, and iii) the role of the UN in Mali through MINUSMA.

We remain seriously concerned that the security situation continues to deteriorate both in Northern and Central Mali as demonstrated by increased terrorist attacks and inter-communal clashes and violence. It is disturbing that incidents of inter-communal violence are increasing, which have ravaged communities, displaced people and worsened the humanitarian situation in Mali. In this regard, we encourage the Malian authorities to bring these communities together in pursuit of peaceful inter-communal dialogue and reconciliation led by the people of Mali with the support of the region and international community.

It is, thus, important to address the root causes and conditions that have given rise to this situation in Mali including, inter alia, the absence of state authority in some parts of the country, porous borders, extreme poverty, exclusion, inequality, and environmental issues. Equally important is to acknowledge the impact of the instability in the Sahel, particularly, in Libya that is also contributing to the destabilisation of Mali and the Sahel region. We wish to emphasise that enhanced efforts on cross-border cooperation among countries in the region should continue to be encouraged to address these challenges.

Complex conditions continue to pose challenges for humanitarian work to be performed effectively and deserve serious attention from the international community. We, therefore, wish to urge the international community to provide the necessary support for the effective implementation of the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan for Mali.

Despite the fragility of the situation, we are encouraged by the progress made thus far on the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration-integration (DDR) processes. We are pleased with the report by the SRSG that training of the Malian forces will take place soon. These positive developments will allow for the redeployment of the reconstituted Malian Defence and Security Forces in Northern and Central Mali improving security in those regions. We also welcome the operationalisation of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission’s national investigation team that will expedite the realisation of justice, healing and peace.

Mr President,

On the political process, my delegation welcomes the signing of the political agreement between the Government of Mali and opposition parties, which has resulted in the appointment of a new inclusive Government led by Prime Minister Cissé. These developments demonstrate renewed commitment to the peace process. It is, therefore, trusted that these changes will lead to stability, sustained peace and prosperity for all Malians, as envisioned in the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation.

South Africa wishes to encourage all Malian stakeholders to continue to engage in dialogue to ensure the implementation of the Peace Agreement. We also encourage all Malian stakeholders to take up the opportunities to participate in inclusive national conference to finalise a new Constitution reflecting the institutional reforms envisioned by the Peace Agreement.

We welcome processes that have recently taken place to ensure the establishment of the Northern Development Zone, including the submission of the related legislation to the National Assembly, as well as the associated funding mechanism for this undertaking. South Africa believes that a holistic developmental approach, including the upliftment of the living standards of the people of Mali, job creation, particularly youth employment will contribute significantly to resolving the complex challenges in Mali.

Mr President,

With regard to the role of MINUSMA, South Africa commends the continued efforts of MINUSMA to discharge its political and security mandate in Mali. We, therefore, support the recommendation of the Secretary-General on the renewal of the mandate of MINUSMA for another 12 months until 30 June 2020.

We take note of the Secretary-General’s options for the potential significant adaptation of MINUSMA and recommendations to enhance its support in the Centre of Mali. However, it is our considered view that any recalibration of MINUSMA must be predicated by a review of the security conditions in Mali. This is important so as to avoid a potential vacuum that will exacerbate instability and insecurity in Mali and the Sahel region.

We are also of the view that should MINUSMA be expected to play a role in Central Mali that exceeds the support recommended, MINUSMA should be able to request additional capacities and resources based on a thorough assessment of conditions on the ground.

We appreciate the cooperation of MINUSMA with other security forces in the country, including the Malian Defence and Security forces, the G5 Sahel Joint Force, French forces and the European Union missions in Mali.

The Council previously discussed the challenges faced by the G5 Sahel Force regarding existing arrangements with MINUSMA to support its operationalisation. We reiterate our support for the recommendations of the Secretary-General regarding the support the United Nations should provide to the G5 Sahel Joint Force.

Mr President,

As I conclude, it is clear that the situation in Mali requires collective support to address the multiple and complex challenges facing the country. This Council must continue to extend its support through MINUSMA and the efforts of the ECOWAS and the African Union. This support will assist the people of Mali to achieve peace and lead the developmental plans as envisioned by the Government.

I thank you.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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