Issuing a warning to Member States about the ongoing threat of terrorism in Mali, delegates also called for elections there next February and noted signs of progress in Niger as they briefed Member States on the Security Council mission to those countries from 22 to 26 October 2021.
Nicolas de Rivière (France) said the Security Council mission to Mali and Niger led to discussions with representatives of civil society, signatory groups of the Inter-Malian Peace Accord and mediators, among others. The mission underscored the Council’s constant commitment to support Mali, but also allowed Member States to ascertain that the situation is serious, with rising insecurity and signs that the Malian State is retreating from the terrorist threat, especially in the centre of the country.
He noted that during the visit, Colonel Assimi Goïta did not express a willingness towards establishing an electoral calendar. Calling for presidential elections in the country on 27 February 2022, he voiced concern that, a day after the visit, Malian authorities announced that the representative of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had been declared persona non grata. He urged authorities to renew dialogue with ECOWAS, stating Mali must not cut itself off and should heed the warnings of countries in the region. Paying tribute to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and fallen peacekeepers, he emphasized that the Mission must be strengthened and expressed hope for more dialogue with Malian authorities on the issue.
Turning to the visit to Niger, he said that despite challenges on the ground, the democratic model is working. Citing their clear presentation of goals on security, climate change and education, particularly for girls, he welcomed the Council’s recent adoption of resolution 2601 (2021). Also noting precise information obtained on the G5 Sahel joint force, he emphasized it is appropriate to have a United Nations support office for that entity. Expressing hope for further discussions on the issue, he stressed it is time for the Council to shoulder its responsibilities on the matter.
Moussa Maman Sani (Niger) stressed the need to support the regional efforts by ECOWAS as well as their mediation role in Mali. Urging the Council to unite on the Mali situation, he expressed hope it will overcome disagreements on the pending issue.
Martin Kimani (Kenya) said he was proud to have facilitated the visit during his country’s presidency of the Council. Mission delegates met with the Malian transitional Government, signatory armed groups, the United Nations country team and other individuals engaged in the security situation. He emphasized the Sahel region is facing deep difficulties in responding to terrorism.
In Niger, he said that the mission met with the country’s President, Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, as well as representatives of the G5 Sahel joint force and the United Nations country team. He noted the Government of Niger is prioritizing and embracing democracy to stabilize the country and foster local development projects, offering a clear path for other States beset by the same terrorist challenges to emerge successfully.
During the mission to Mali, delegates inquired about elections, a process he said must be clear and transparent, with progress towards the day when the people of Mali can choose their leaders. He urged the transitional authorities to continue to comply with the wishes of the people of Mali and the international community. Noting the expulsion of the ECOWAS Special Envoy, he expressed understanding of the sovereign rights of Mali but hoped that act did not reflect hesitation in engaging with the regional economic group and complying on the transition of power. The field visit helped Member States understand the challenges on the ground, the most glaring being security in the region, and the need for progress in the Council on supporting African States against terrorism. Stressing that MINUSMA is clearly insufficient to the task, he called for support for the G5 Sahel if it is to prevail.
The meeting began at 11:01 a.m. and ended at 11:13 a.m.