“The situation created by the occupation of a territory in northern Mali by terrorist groups is intolerable, inadmissible and unacceptable, not only for Mali, who is directly affected by this terrorist evil, but for all the countries of the region and, beyond, for all those who may one day be the victims of terrorism. The authorities of Mali have just brought this matter before us. So there is no time to lose. France will support all initiatives that enable the Africans themselves to resolve this issue in accordance with international law, with a clear mandate from the Security Council. Yes, Mali must regain her territorial integrity and terrorism must be banished from the Sahel region.”
François Hollande, President of the French Republic,
Opening debate of the 67th session of the General Assembly to the United Nations, 25 September 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Mali is dealing with terrorist elements from the north, whose brutality and fanaticism are now clear to the entire world.
The very existence of the friendly state of Mali is at stake, as is the security of its people and that of our citizens. There are 6,000 of them there.
I therefore responded, on behalf of France, to the request for assistance issued by Mali’s president, supported by the West African countries.
Consequently, the French armed forces lent their support this afternoon to the Malian units in order to fight against these terrorist elements.
This operation will continue as long as necessary.
I will keep the French people regularly informed of its progress. The ministries concerned – the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the UN, since we are intervening within the framework of international law, and the Ministry of Defense – will also provide all the relevant information to the population.
Lastly, the matter will be put before Parliament on Monday.
The terrorists should know that France will always be there, not when its fundamental interests are involved, but when the rights of a population – the Malian people who want to live in a free and democratic country - are concerned.
Mali is faced with serious institutional and security challenges since the military seizure of power of 22 March 2012, a few days before the presidential elections. The mutineers arrested the principal members of the government.
Following the military seizure of power, the Malian army collapsed in the northern part of the country, where the Tuareg rebellion, with the support of islamist fighters linked to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI), has managed important territorial gains, taking possession of the cities of Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu. The Islamist group Ansar Din joined forces with the MNLA during the fighting, conquering Timbuktu from which they expelled the MNLA, on 2 April 2012. AQMI is responsible for the kidnapping and the death of several French nationals in the region of Sahel over the last years.
The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) seeks independence of the three governorates of Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu to create a new state, the "Republic of Azawad". It has unlilaterally declared the independence of Azawad on 6 April 2012, which France, alongside the international community, has considered null and void.
To force the mutineers to hand over power to the civilians authorities, the Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS) adopted on 2 April 2012 a set of economic, diplomatic and financial sanctions against the junta in Bamako, enforcing a total embargo on the country. On 7 April 2012, these sanctions were lifted following an agreement with the military junta negotiated by the regional organization, laying down a plan for the transition of power with the transfer of authority to the president of the national assembly.
At the beginning of January 2013, several combat units from terrorist groups moved towards the south, capturing the town of Konna and threatening the city of Mopti. Mali requested France’s military assistance to defend itself, which was began to be provided in support of the Malian security forces on January 11, 2013.
On 1 July 2013, the authority of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA) was officially transferred to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). This new operation, established on 25 April 2013 by resolution 2100, is the 16th UN peacekeeping operation and includes up to 11,200 military personnel and 1,440 police personnel.
2 November 2013. The Security Council adopted a press statement strongly condemning the kidnapping and assassination of two French journalists in Kidal. It recalled that, in accordance with international humanitarian law, journalists, media professionals and associated personnel engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict are generally considered as civilians and shall be respected and protected as such.
On 23 October 2013, the Security Council adopted a press statement condemning the attacks by unidentified armed assailants on the MINUSMA in Tessalit in which Chadian peacekeepers were killed, others were severely injured and innocent civilians were killed.
On 16 October 2013, the Security Council met in public and in private consultations to assess the situation in Mali, in presence of the Malian Minister of National Reconciliation and Development of Northern Regions of Mali, Cheick Oumar Diarrah, and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the country and Head of MINUSMA, Bert Koenders.
During this session, Mr. Albert Koenders stated that there had been a general improvement in Mali and that preparations for legislative elections scheduled for 24 November and 1 December were proceeding. However, he also referred to the terrorist attacks perpetuated the last few weeks and added that security, justice and reconciliation were the Government of Mali’s immediate priorities. He also said that the human rights situation should be carefully monitored and that humanitarian needs remained still considerable and educational needs urgent.
The Malian Minister recalled the will of the Malian people to take charge of their own destiny welcomed the deployment of the Malian security forces, of MINUSMA, as well as of Operation Serval. He called for a renewed deployment of the Malian army throughout the country, as well as for an urgent contribution of the international community so that MINUSMA obtains adequate means to perform its mission in accordance with the terms of paragraphs 16 and 17 of Resolution 2100. He added the threat of terrorist groups should not be neglected as the Malian crisis was considered over.
During the closed consultations, the representative of France stressed that stabilization of Mali was a success. He nevertheless stressed the many challenges that faced the country, including the holding of legislative elections and of the reconciliation dialogue. He also said that the redeployment of Malian armed forces in the North should be made in a concerted manner and recalled the prolonged support of French forces to MINUSMA in the fight against terrorism. Lastly, with regard to the deployment of MINUSMA, Mr. Araud called on the Force to make full use of its mandate in support of Malian forces.
Following the meeting, the representative of France briefed the press.
On 26 September 2013, Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Pascal Canfin, Minister Delegate for Development, attached to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, participated in a High-Level Meeting on the Sahel region. This event, at the initiative of the UN Secretary-General, gathered many Heads of state, regional organizations, the African Development Bank and the World Bank.
The event was designed to provide an impetus to the implementation of the UN integrated strategy, in order to address the humanitarian issues and security, governance and development challenges of the Sahel region.
At this occasion, Mr. Laurent Fabius stated that the UN action in the region should focus on three priority areas. Firstly, he called for a reinforcement of the regional dimension of the integrated strategy, noting that economic development, such as drugs or arms trafficking, knew no boundaries and should be addressed at the regional level. Secondly, he said that the fight against radicalization was a priority to establish a sustainable peace and stability in the region. Finally, he called for the emergence of strong and virtuous States through a better managed decentralization, better control over public spending and a greater transparency of the international aid.
Following this meeting, Mrs. Fabius made some remarks to the press.
On 16 August 2013, the Security Council released a press statement taking note of the provisional results of the presidential runoff elections in Mali. The members of the Security Council considered the holding of these elections a major step toward the restoration of democratic governance and constitutional order in Mali.
On 16 July 2013, Romano Prodi, Special Envoy of the Secretary General for the Sahel region, presented to the Security Council the United Nations integrated strategy. The representative of France welcomed this document and in particular its transversal approach of the tasks currently carried out by UN agencies. He called on the Security Council to carefully monitor its implementation.
The Security Council adopted a presidential statement to strengthen trans-regional and inter-regional coordination and cooperation in the region and to optimize synergies within this strategy. The members of the Security Council stated that strengthening the collective solidarity of the whole region was essential to fight effectively against arms trafficking, drugs dealing and terrorism.
On 25 June 2013, pursuant to Resolution 2100, the Security Council met in public and in private consultations to assess the situation in Mali, in presence of the Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs Tieman Coulibaly and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the country, Bert Koenders.
The members of the Security Council noted the restoration of the territorial integrity of Mali, the absence of major security incidents and the undeniable progress in the political process after the signing of the Ouagadougou Agreement. They therefore unanimously acknowledged the absence of any obstacle to the deployment on 1 July of the stabilization force UN MINUSMA, in relay of African forces.
In his remarks to the press the French representative pointed out that the withdrawal of French troops would continue at the end of the summer, once MINUSMA had started its implementation, with the view of maintaining a remaining presence of 1,000 men in Mali at the end of 2013. France would continue also to play a role in support of peacekeepers, should they face and imminent and serious threat.
On 19 June 2013, the Security Council released a press statement welcoming the signing in Ouagadougou on 18 June of a “Preliminary Agreement to the Presidential Election and the Inclusive Peace Talks in Mali” between the transitional authorities of Mali and the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and the High Council for the Unity of Azawad (HCUA).
On 25 April 2013, the Security Council adopted resolution 2100 transforming the current African-led force in Mali (AFISMA) into a United Nations led stabilizing force, to be deployed on 1st July 2013. Resolution 2100 includes a civil strong mandate to ensure civil and human rights protection throughout the country. The French representative then spoke to the press about this resolution.
On 3 April 2013, Mr Jeffrey Feltman, Under Secretary General for Political Affairs, briefed the Security Council and the representatives of Côte d’Ivoire and Mali, the options proposed by the Secretary-General to deploy a stabilization operation in Mali.
During the closed consultations that followed, the representative of France stressed the importance of the rapid implementation of a political process in the country, supported by the appointment of a Special Representative of the Secretary-General. He noted that the stabilization phase of the country should be engaged as soon as possible to preserve the achievements of the French military intervention. A UN stabilizing force seemed to be the best option, its deployment would occur by July and will be concomitant with the gradual reduction of the French contingent in the country.
The complete timeline of events here.
16 October 2013 – Mali – Remarks to the press by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
26 September 2013 – Sahel – Remarks to the press by Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs
26 September 2013 - High-Level Meeting on the Sahel - Statement by Mr. Laurent Fabius, France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs
24 September 2013 - Opening of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly - Statement by Mr. François Hollande, President of the Republic
1 July 2013 - Mali / Transformation of AFISMA into MINUSMA Statement by the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
25 April 2013 - Mali - Remarks to the press by M. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United
27 March 2013 - Mali - Remarks to the press by M. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United
27 February 2013 - Mali - Remarks to the press by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
6 February 2013 - Mali - Remarks to the press by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
14 January 2013 - Mali - Remarks to the press by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
More French statements here.
2 November 2013 - Security Council - Press statement - Assassination of two French Journalists
23 October 2013 - Security Council - Press statement - Attacks on MINUSMA
On 16 August 2013 - Security Council Press statement - Provisional results of the presidential runoff elections in Mali
16 July 2013 - Security Council - Presidential statement
19 June 2013 - Security Council - Press statement Preliminary Agreement to the Presidential Election and the Inclusive Peace Talks in Mali
25 April 2013 - Security Council - Resolution 2100
10 January 2013 - Security Council press statement
20 December 2012 - Security Council - Resolution 2085 authorizing the deployment of an African-led international Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA)
11 December 2012 - Mali - Security Council Press Statement
10 December 2012 - Peace and security in Sahel - Statement by the President of the Security Council
12 October 2012 - Security Council - Resolution 2071 calling upon Malian rebel armed groups to cut off all ties to terrorist organizations or face international community sanctions
21 September 2012 - Security Council press statement on Mali and Sahel
5 July 2012 - Security Council - Resolution 2056
9 April 2012 - Security Council press statement
4 April 2012 - Peace and security in Africa - Statement by the President of the Security Council
26 March 2012 - Peace and security in Africa - Statement by the President of the Security Council on the situation in the Sahel region
22 March 2012 - Security Council press statement
Page on Mali on the Ministry’s of Foreign Affairs website