Security Council Presidential Statement Strongly Condemns Situation in Mali as Permanent Representative Requests Help to Seek Way Out of Crisis

Security Council
6745th Meeting (PM)

Strongly condemning assaults by rebels in northern Mali and the seizure of power in the capital by elements of the armed forces, the Security Council called today for the immediate restoration of constitutional rule, demanding the safe release of all detainees, as well as an end to all hostilities in the north and a peaceful resolution of all issues through dialogue.

In a statement read out by Jeffrey DeLaurentis (United States), its President for April, the Council extended its support for efforts by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to facilitate an end to the governance crisis, expressing its expectation that the mutineers would immediately take steps to implement their commitment to restore constitutional rule.

The Council strongly condemned continued attacks, looting and seizure of territory by rebels in the north, expressing concern at the “rapidly deteriorating” humanitarian situation and the risks that the fighting posed to Mali’s World Heritage sites. It also expressed alarm over the presence of Al-Qaida-affiliated terrorists in the region. Requesting increased mobilization of international support for humanitarian efforts, the Council called on all parties to allow unimpeded access for aid to civilians in need.

After the statement was read out, Oumar Daou (Mali) said his country had never experienced such a sombre situation. “It is indescribable; we’ve never seen this,” he added, expressing hope that the country would be able to receive the assistance that would “help us move out of this state of despair”.

He said he was certain Mali’s people would work to overcome challenges, including a serious institutional crisis, the threat of partition in the north — occupied, he said, by Tuareg and other rebels — and hundreds of thousands of displaced persons living in terrible conditions. “Please help Mali find a way out of this crisis,” he said. “This is a matter of survival.”

Noting that just weeks ago Mali had been recognized as a benchmark country, in which the democratic model had taken root, he said he would leave for future discussions the “profound” causes of the current situation, and thanked the Council for having adopted a presidential statement on the “painful” crisis. He added, however, that although the imposition of sanctions by ECOWAS was understandable, it was the first time such a step had been taken against a member State in such difficult conditions. “With all those challenges, is this the time to close the borders of our country?” he asked. “Is this the time to leave the Malian people thirsty and hungry?” ECOWAS should not make matters worse, but instead help Mali find a way out of the crisis, he said.

Finally, he reported that the coup leaders had asked to hold discussions with Government officials and civil society in an attempt to find a consensus — “the lowest common denominator” — that would chart the course ahead. He also reiterated his call for the Council’s help in that endeavour.

The meeting began at 12:19 p.m. and ended at 12:35 p.m.

Presidential Statement

The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2012/9 reads as follows:

“The Security Council reiterates its strong condemnation of the forcible seizure of power from the democratically elected Government of Mali by some elements of the Malian armed forces, and recalls in this regard its press statement of 22 March 2012 and its presidential statement of 26 March 2012. The Council calls on the mutineers to ensure the safety and security of all Malian officials and demands the immediate release of those detained. The Council renews its call for the immediate restoration of constitutional rule and the democratically elected Government and for the preservation of the electoral process.

“The Security Council supports the efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which issued communiqués on 27 and 29 March 2012, and commends the work of President Blaise Compaoré, as ECOWAS facilitator, in promoting the return to full civilian authority and the effective reestablishment of constitutional order in Mali. The Council also commends the efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and of the African Union in this regard and takes note of the announcement of the mutineers to restore constitutional rule as of 1 April 2012. The Council expects the mutineers to take immediate steps to effectively implement this commitment and will follow developments closely.

“The Security Council strongly condemns the continued attacks, looting and seizure of territory carried out by rebel groups in the north of Mali and demands an immediate cessation of hostilities. The Council is alarmed by the presence in the region of the terrorist group Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, which could lead to a further destabilization of the security situation. The Council calls upon the rebels to immediately cease all violence and urges all parties in Mali to seek a peaceful solution through appropriate political dialogue. The Council stresses the importance of the safety of civilians and of the respect of human rights.

“The Security Council reaffirms the need to uphold and respect the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Mali.

“The Security Council renews its serious concern over the insecurity and rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Sahel region.

“The Council commends efforts of humanitarian organizations involved and calls on all parties in Mali to allow timely, safe and unimpeded access of humanitarian aid to civilians in need, in accordance with international law, including applicable international humanitarian law and guiding principles of emergency humanitarian assistance. The Council calls for an increased mobilization of the international community to support humanitarian efforts.

“The Security Council expresses its concern at the risk posed by fighting to Mali’s World Heritage sites.

“The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to update it, as appropriate, on developments in Mali and will remain seized of the matter.”

For information media • not an official record