The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 12 April 2023.
Statement by Ambassador Barbara Woodward at the UN Security Council briefing on Mali.
Thank you, President. Thank you, SRSG Wane, for your briefing. Let me underscore our appreciation for the hard work and the courage of MINUSMA’s peacekeepers.
Last time the Council met on Mali, we had just received the Secretary-General’s review. This established four parameters against which progress was needed for MINUSMA to remain effective and relevant. There are clear indications in the latest report that progress has not been made. In fact, the trajectory seems to be worsening in several respects.
First, ground and air movement restrictions continue to hinder peacekeepers, with almost a quarter of flight requests rejected by the authorities during the reporting period. This impedes the protection of civilians and places peacekeepers at risk.
Second, there was the expulsion of MINUSMA’s human rights director, following the dangerous criticism directed at the civil society representative who briefed this Council in January. This reflects a worrying disregard for the mission’s mandate. We count on the mission’s continued commitment to investigate and report on human rights. In this regard, we urge the release without further delay of the UN report on the alleged massacre of civilians in Moura by Malian armed forces and Wagner Group personnel in March 2022.
Third, tensions persist between Peace Agreement signatories. The UK, along with wider International Mediation, stand ready to support. We urge the parties to engage with the International Mediation proposals presented last week aimed at relaunching the peace process. While all parties need to show willingness to engage on concrete implementation measures, it is the Malian authorities that ultimately have primary responsibility to implement the Agreement. We urge them to make the first step.
Fourth, the timely transition to constitutional rule by March 2024 remains imperative. Electoral and constitutional reforms should not be allowed to impede this.
President, in June this Council will be faced with some difficult decisions. With few visible signs from the Malian authorities of a commitment to meeting the Secretary-General’s parameters, it cannot be business as usual for MINUSMA’s mandate renewal in June. We should be ready to adapt and refocus the mission, reviewing any support that carries risks to the UN’s credibility and reputation.