On Tuesday, the head of the United Nations mission in Mali (Minusma) asked the Security Council for the resources needed to make sure the mission can do its job in a country where security is still “turbulent” in some places and where its actions are “limited.”
El Ghassim Wane described the current scenario as “an extremely terrible security, humanitarian, and human rights situation” on Monday, when an improvised explosive device claimed the lives of four more troops. “The security situation continues to be dangerous in central Mali and in the Mali-Burkina Faso-Niger tri-border area,” he said. “The situation is also tense in northern Niger.”
“We are using our resources in the most creative and flexible way possible,” he emphasized, but “the determination” of peacekeepers on the ground “cannot replace the means we desperately need.” The report by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that was talked about at the meeting focused on “restrictions on movement and access” faced by UNMIS, most of which were put in place by Malian authorities, as well as “disinformation operations” against the mission.
“Minusma is in danger,” observed the French Ambassador, Nicolas de Rivière, pointing to the actions of terrorist groups and “obstruction of the mission’s activities.” “Minusma is in danger” “We are counting on the sense of responsibility of the transitional authorities not to rush a departure in which the Malians would be the first victims,” he said, calling on the Malian transitional government for “full and complete cooperation.”
In September, Antonio Gutteres stated that there is a need to identify “new solutions” for UNMIS. In January, Gutteres is scheduled to offer ideas on possible modifications that might be made to the operation. The mandate of the United Nations Security Council was extended in June by one year, until June 30th, 2023. However, this was the first time that France would not be providing air assistance for the mission since the country had totally pulled out of Mali. At this moment, it is their intention to keep the same number of troops and police in their force, which is currently 13,289 total.
The Malian Foreign Minister, Abdoulaye Diop, responded, “Contrary to what is being reported, there is no wish to restrict the movements of the mission.” He emphasized the desire to “assert our sovereignty over our territory.” Concerning the continued existence of UNMISMA, Mali’s “priority” is to “refocus” on the country’s “base for its stay in Mali,” most notably support for the restoration of state authority throughout the country.
The minister also reiterated his appeal for an extraordinary meeting of the Security Council to discuss France, which he accused of “continuous violations of Malian airspace,” “duplicity, espionage, and instability.” The French envoy scoffed at the “false” accusations that were leveled against his country.