7727th Meeting (AM)
Foreign Minister Welcomes Passage, as Some Speakers Question Text’s ‘Ambiguous Language’, Role of MINUSMA in Fighting Terrorists
The Security Council today authorized the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to adopt a more “proactive and robust posture”, including when protecting civilians against asymmetric threats, while increasing its troop levels and extending its mandate for a year.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2295 (2016) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the 15-member Council authorized the Mission to use “all necessary means” to carry out its mandate within its capabilities and areas of deployment. Extending that mandate until 30 June 2017, it further decided to increase MINUSMA’s force levels to a ceiling of 13,289 military troops and 1,920 police personnel.
The Council also authorized French forces in Mali, within the limits of their capacities and areas of deployment, to use all necessary means to intervene in support of the Mission when under imminent and serious threat, until the end of MINUSMA’s mandate.
Also by the text, the Council expressed serious concern about the Mission’s lack of key capabilities, and stressed the need to strengthen its ability to fulfil its mandate in a complex security environment containing asymmetric threats. It emphasized the importance for MINUSMA of ensuring the most effective use and disposition of its troops and capabilities, in accordance with the priorities of its mandate.
In that regard, the Council decided that MINUSMA’s strategic priority would be to support the parties to the Mali conflict in implementing the 2015 peace agreement. The Mission’s other priority tasks would include good offices and reconciliation; protection of civilians, including against asymmetric threats, and stabilization; countering asymmetric threats in active defence of its mandate; protection, safety and security of United Nations personnel; promotion and protection of human rights; and humanitarian assistance.
Noting that slow progress in implementing the peace agreement was hampering efforts to restore security in the north of the country, the Council urged the Government of Mali, as well as the Plateform and Coordination armed groups, to continue to engage constructively, with sustained political will and in good faith so as to accelerate the agreement’s implementation. It also urged the Government, as well as the Plateform and Coordination armed groups, to continue to uphold the ceasefire agreement of 23 May 2014, the arrangement for the cessation of hostilities of 5 June 2015, and the cessation-of-hostilities declarations of 24 June 2014 and 19 February 2015.
The Council strongly condemned the activities of terrorist organizations in Mali and the wider Sahel region, as well as their attacks against MINUSMA peacekeepers, the Malian defence and security forces and other stakeholders. It further expressed its readiness to consider targeted sanctions against those who took actions to obstruct or threatened implementation of the peace agreement, resumed hostilities, or attacked or threatened the Mission or other international presences.
A number of speakers welcomed the resolution’s adoption, noting that by strengthening MINUSMA, the Council was fully shouldering its responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
In that vein, the representative of France, Council President for June, pointed out that the resolution allowed MINUSMA to adapt to the “exceptional environment” in which it was operating. Speaking in his national capacity, he said that by adding some 2,500 troops to its force levels, the resolution gave the Mission the most robust mandate possible, allowing it to counter asymmetric threats.
The representative of the United States echoed that point, noting that MINSUMA’s troops were increasingly called upon to respond to asymmetric threats, which required more prompt and agile responses, as well as clarity on the Council’s part. Indeed, the Mission must be able to anticipate, counter and deter asymmetric and other threats in order to protect civilians, he emphasized.
However, other speakers disagreed, with the Russian Federation’s representative saying that some delegations had tried to push ambiguous language, and vague references to “asymmetric threats”, that might justify the use of force. MINUSMA must act in accordance with the principles of peacekeeping, he stressed, adding that the use of force should be based on a serious assessment of threats.
Uruguay’s representative underlined that, while his delegation recognized the need to adapt to asymmetric threats, it was not appropriate for peacekeeping missions to participate in military operations to confront terrorism. The firmer, more proactive posture authorized by the resolution should not lead MINUSMA to take preventive actions or attacks against terrorists, he warned, saying that would change the nature of what a peacekeeping mission should be.
Abdoulaye Diop, Mali’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and African Integration, said that his country’s expectations centred on a more robust posture for MINUSMA, strengthening its capabilities and greater support for Mali’s Armed Forces. The Government had also requested more support for regional counter-terrorism initiatives, including those of the Group of Five for the Sahel, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union. The resolution incorporated those expectations and included new features to support all efforts to stabilize Mali, he noted, adding that the strengthened and more robust mandate sent a strong signal to all enemies of peace.
Also speaking were representatives of Egypt, Senegal, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom.
The meeting began at 10:15 a.m. and ended at 10:58 a.m.