Statement by Sweden at the UN Security Council Briefing on MINUSMA
National Statement delivered by Ambassador Olof Skoog on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), 23 January 2018, New York.
Let me begin by thanking Under-Secretary-General Lacroix for his comprehensive briefing to the Council today. Let me also express my thanks to the Secretary-General for his report and to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, and his team for their work. I also welcome and appreciate the presence today of Foreign Minister Coulibaly in the Council.
It is now over two and a half years since the Accord for peace and reconciliation in Mali was signed. Progress on its implementation has been mixed. Yet, tangible progress in the peace process is the only way to achieve lasting stability in Mali and, indeed, in the region. This is all the more urgent in light of the grave security situation, characterised by increased and intensified attacks by terrorist groups. It is clear that only a comprehensive approach, anchored in the peace process, and which addresses the root causes of violence and instability, will resolve the security situation in Mali in a lasting way.
We welcome the adoption of the revised timetable for the implementation of the peace agreement. This agreement represents a closing window of opportunity, which if not grasped, would undermine the progress already made and put into question the good faith and potential for peace and reconciliation in Mali.
It is therefore essential that the parties honour their commitments under the peace agreement in a concrete and substantive way, without further delay. As part of this, they should engage in confidence-building measures. This is critical, not least to prepare the ground for credible and inclusive elections, due to take place in 2018. Greater national ownership of the key institutional reforms envisaged in the peace agreement is essential. We call on all parties to play their part, in particular to ensure progress in the decentralization and DDR and SSR processes. We hope that the newly appointed Prime Minister Maiga, will fully assume his responsibilities and lead the way, in an inclusive manner.
With the recent appointment of the Carter Centre in the role of independent observer, and the establishment of a sanctions regime last year, all the tools needed to support the peace agreement's implementation process are now in place. Albeit different in nature, these tools all serve to assist and accompany the parties in their endeavours. We encourage the parties to support and use them as they go about their work.
The full representation of women has been lacking in decision-making structures related to the peace process; yet, women have an important role to play in implementation of the Peace Agreement. We welcome the recent steps by the mediation group of the agreement's follow-up mechanism, the CSA (Comité de Suivi de l'Accord), to consult more with women. It is important that this dialogue is continued and that the inclusion of women in the peace process is further institutionalised.
The human rights situation in Mali continues to be of serious concern, not least due to the expansion of violent extremist groups. The Malian government has a responsibility to ensure accountability for human rights abuses and access to justice for all, including by prioritizing the reconciliation and justice measures of the peace agreement. We welcome the decision of the Secretary-General to establish an International Commission of Inquiry to investigate allegations of abuse and serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including allegations of conflict-related sexual violence, committed on the territory of Mali from 1 January 2012.
We welcome MINUSMA's continued support to the operationalization of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission and the high number of additional statements that have been submitted to the Commission; although we are concerned that progress remains slow. The severe human rights situation also highlights the significance of a robust compliance framework for the G5-Sahel Joint Force, which should be operationalised promptly.
We look forward to receiving further information on the MINUSMA transition plan, as well as the recommendations of the upcoming strategic review. This is an important exercise, coming five years after the birth of the mission, and provides an opportunity to reflect, including by revisiting its configuration and geographical distribution.
We join the Secretary-General in commending the commitment of the G5-Sahel member states to address threats to peace and security in the region, through the establishment of the Joint Force. We see the potential of the Joint Force to contribute to an enabling environment that increases security. Given the complementary roles of the FC-G5S and MINUSMA, it is important that the United Nations support to the Joint Force through the mission does not affect its own capacity to implement its mandate and strategic priorities.
By redoubling their efforts to implement the peace agreement, the parties in Mali can help ensure successful elections for later this year, which in turn has the potential to reinvigorate the peace process and create the conditions for state authority to be extended across the whole of the country. It is essential that all parties to the agreement remain committed and intensify their efforts for successful implementation.
MINUSMA continues to have an important role to play in support of national efforts in Mali. We are proud to support its work, with our largest current military troop contribution to any international mission, as well as with police and civilian staff. Sweden remains committed to supporting a peaceful, resilient and inclusive Mali for all its citizens.