| 21 April 2024, Sunday |

Mali orders UN peacekeeping mission to leave

The Foreign Ministry of Mali has formally requested the United Nations Security Council to withdraw a peacekeeping mission that has been in operation in the country for the past ten years. The ministry cited the mission’s perceived “failure” to effectively address the security challenges faced by Mali as the reason behind this request.
“The government of Mali calls for the withdrawal without delay of MINUSMA,” Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop told a UN Security Council meeting on Friday, referring to the UN force in his country.

MINUSMA head El Ghassim Wane reacted to Diop’s speech on Friday, saying it was “nearly impossible” to maintain the mission without the host country’s consent, the French AFP news agency reported.
Addressing the Security Council, Diop said his government was willing to cooperate with the UN. However, he rejected all options proposed by the UN secretary-general to change the mandate of the mission.
In January, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres proposed three amendments to the mission. Proposals included increasing personnel and withdrawing troops. The UN chief eventually opted for a middle ground.

“MINUSMA seems to have become part of the problem by fueling community tensions exacerbated by extremely serious allegations which are highly detrimental to peace, reconciliation and national cohesion in Mali,” Diop said on Friday.

He added that the mission’s actions created “a feeling of distrust” toward it among the Malian population.

UN experts have recently pointed to human rights violations exercised by the Malian military junta, as well as its Russian supporters, the mercenary Wagner group, prompting the former’s ire.

What is MINUSMA and why did Mali fall out with it?
Set up in 2013, MINUSMA’s mission, or the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, aimed to stabilize Mali amid a growing jihadist insurgency.

However, relations between the mission and the ruling regime became tense recently, especially following the military take-over in a 2020 coup, followed by another coup nine months later.

In August 2022, Malian authorities also expelled MINUSMA Spokesman Olivier Salgado, and ordered the temporary suspension of the mission’s group rotations.

Earlier this year in February, Mali’s ruling military junta declared a senior official of the peacekeeping mission persona non grata, giving him 48 hours to leave the country.

  • DW