Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

La UN mission, MINUSMA, ended 10 years of presence in Mali

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The UN mission in Mali aimed to contribute to the peace effort in the country. (Archive photo)

Agence France-Presse

The UN mission, MINUSMA, completed ten years of presence in Mali on Sunday during which, according to the UN Secretary General, it supported the peace process in a country in crisis where the military regime finally decided to leave.

The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) has completed its withdrawal from the country ;by December 31, 2023 as agreed with the military in power in Mali, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement released on Sunday.

Mr. Guterres praised the key role played by MINUSMA in ensuring respect for the ceasefire under the 2015 peace and reconciliation agreement [between Bamako and northern rebel groups] as well as ;to the transition in this country where the military seized power by force in 2020.

The end of MINUSMA puts an end to a commitment begun in 2013 in the face of the spread of jihadism which threatened the stability of a poor and fragile state, and which persists today.

Violence has spread to the Sahelian neighbors of Burkina Faso and Niger, killing thousands of civilians and combatants, and displacing millions of people.

The UN chief also paid tribute to the 311 MINUSMA personnel who lost their lives and the more than 700 injured in the service of peace during the Mission's 10 years of deployment in Mali in attacks mainly perpetrated by groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State organization, in its press release.

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MINUSMA is the hardest hit UN mission in recent years. Its numbers were around 15,000 soldiers and police from dozens of countries.

Despite a considerable financial commitment, MINUSMA has been strongly criticized by a part of the Malians who denounced its inability to curb the crisis.

UN officials have always objected that MINUSMA did not have the mission to fight Jihadists. His mandate assigned him to support the implementation of an important peace agreement with northern separatists (non-Jihadists); to help the Malian authorities stabilize the center, another source of violence; and protect civilians and human rights.

After the withdrawal phase on Sunday, [Monday] January 1, 2024 will mark the start of the liquidation period consisting in particular of handing over the last equipment to the Malian authorities or terminating existing contracts, explained Mr. Guterres.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">During this period, a reduced [UN] team, and the rearguards of the troop and police contributing countries, will remain at the sites of Gao [north] and Bamako to oversee the orderly transportation of goods belonging to troop and police contributing countries to their respective nations.

The Timbuktu [north] camp was one of the last camps handed over by MINUSMA to the Malian authorities this week.

MINUSMA set about leaving Mali after Bamako's request, and planned its disengagement from most of its 13 holds in difficult conditions in the north, under the pressure of a military escalation between all the armed actors present on the ground.

His presence had become almost untenable after the military took power.

The junta carried out a strategic reorientation, broke the old alliance with the former dominant power France and turned militarily and politically towards Russia.

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Abdoulaye Diop, the Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs. (Archive photo)

The head of Malian diplomacy, Abdoulaye Diop, ended up asking in June for the immediate departure of MINUSMA before the Security Council. He declared the mission a failure and said it was not the solution, but part of the problem.

MINUSMA could not remain against the wishes of the Malian authorities. The Security Council ended his mandate on June 30 and gave him until December 31 to leave the country.

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