“Victories against terrorism are possible. In Mali, for example, with a clear mandate from the Security Council, African and French forces with support from the Europeans responded to the Bamako authorities’ appeal to intervene, and succeeded in ending a large-scale terrorist offensive. Today the results speak for themselves. Mali has regained all of its territory, is guaranteeing the security of its population, and even managed to hold presidential elections on schedule, elections that were recognized as indisputable. Here I would like to welcome the new President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who represents a great West African victory against terrorism..”
François Hollande, President of the French Republic,
Opening debate of the 68th session of the General Assembly to the United Nations, 24 September 2013
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.
On 26 February 2014, the Permanent Representatives of France and of Chad presented the report of the visit of the Security Council to Mali.
The Permanent Representative of France recalled that the Security Council met President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Prime Minister Oumar Tatam Ly and several members of his government. The Council furthermore met armed groups, as well as local authorities and representatives of civil society. During discussions, the Council had underlined that any sustainable solution for Northern Mali should be found by Malians themselves, with the support by the international community. Armed groups had to be disarmed in the framework of a negotiated political process, in accordance with the commitments made in the Ouagadougou agreement. If the Council had perceived a lack of trust between the government and armed groups, it nevertheless welcomed the government’s roadmap to resolve the crisis, and the adoption by both parties, a few days ago, of a cantonment method. Parties should now proceed sincerely and without delay on that path. The Council had also stressed that sustainable security of Northern Mali necessarily involved an overall political solution. Full and rapid deployment of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali in the North was urgent, particularly in the context of the decrease of Serval. Resentatives of the Malian civil society had insisted that there would be no sustainable peace in Mali without development.
On 23 January 2014, the Security Council adopted a presidential statement on the situation in Mali.
On 16 January 2014, the Security Council met in public and private consultations to assess the situation in Mali, in presence of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the country and head of MINUSMA, Mr. Bert Koenders.
During this session, Mr. Koenders stated that there had been a general improvement in Mali with the return to constitutional order. The legislative elections were held without incident and President Keïta had strengthened the fight against corruption and impunity, stability and economic recovery, respect for human rights and good governance. Mali had to seize this opportunity and strengthen these gains to address the root causes of the crisis in the country. Inclusive talks on national reconciliation should start without delay. Security sector reform as well as the process of cantonment for the non-terrorists armed groups and the process of DDR had to be speeded up, which required more attention from the Security Council. Despite the efforts of the Malian defense forces and of MINUSMA, the security conditions in the north remained fragile. Mr. Koenders condemned increased terrorist attacks, resulting in the deaths of civilians, as well as Malian Armed Forces and MINSUMA soldiers. With the help of the international community, the authority of the State needed to be restored throughout the territory. Finally, if progress had been made at the humanitarian level, the needs remained considerable.
During the closed consultations that followed, the permanent representative of France welcomed the successful holding of the legislative elections, which was a major achievement. Political dialogue on national reconciliation now had to begin without further delay. The Malian authorities needed to be prodded to move forward. Finally, the permanent representative deplored delays in the deployment of MINUSMA in Northern Mali. This was a priority issue.
On 17 December 2013, the United Nations Special representative for Sahel and head of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), Mr. Saïd Djinnit, presented its twelfth report on the situation in West Africa. He welcomed the return to the constitutional order in Mali and the pursuit of the ongoing political dialogue, while affirming that challenges in terms of stability and security remained important. The Special representative called on the opposition leaders of Guinea Conakry to cooperate for having the National Assembly sit before the end of the year. He welcomed the Mano River Union’s adoption of the cross-border strategy, in Conakry last October, and welcomed the implementation of a coordination platform between the Sahel countries, which continued to face the threats of terrorism and transnational organized crime. He finally recalled that several countries of West Africa were entering an election campaign.
During the closes consultations that followed, the permanent representative of France, in his capacity as the President of the Security Council, noted several points of convergence between the members of the Council, including the importance of preventive diplomacy in the region, the constructive role the Special Representative played in Guinea, and the necessity of good regional coordination to fight against transnational threats in the Sahel.
On 14 December 2013, the Security Council adopted in press statement condemning the attack by unidentified armed assailants on the MINUSMA in Kidali, in which Senegalese peacekeepers were killed, other peacekeepers were severely injured, as well of members of Malian armed forces.
On 12 December 2013, the French Presidency of the Security Council organized a briefing on the situation in the Sahel, with the participation of the Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the President of the World Bank, Mr. Jim Yong Kim, the United Nations Special Envoy for the Sahel, Mr. Prodi, the EU Special Representative for the Sahel, Mr. Reveyrand de Menthon, the Ambassador of the African Union to the United Nations, Mr. Antonio, and the President of the African Development Bank, Mr. Kaberuka.
The briefers presented the results of their joint visit to the Sahel on 4 to 7 November in the region. This visit, focused on development issues, led to announcements from the World Bank and the European Union on the increase of their assistance to reach 8 billion dollars over the next five years. The EU Special Representative recalled that security was an essential condition for sustainable development. The EU was ready to redouble diplomatic and operational efforts for Mali. He stressed the importance of associating African researchers and intellectuals, as well as all the countries of the region, to implement the United Nations strategy for the Sahel. The African Union thanked France for its military operation in Mali and welcomed the progress of the situation in the country since the deployment of MINUSMA, as well as the African Union cooperation with the United Nations.
Several delegations called for the implementation of the United Nations strategy for the Sahel, as well as for a reinforcement of regional and transborder cooperation, in order to combat transnational threats such as terrorism and transnational organized crime, including drug and arms trafficking. In this context, the delegations welcomed the establishment, in Bamako on 5 November, of a special mechanism to ensure coordination between the countries in the region.
The permanent representative of France welcomed the commitments announced by the World Bank and the EU, and recalled that France had decided to increase its assistance to 1, 2 billion dollars until 2015. While terrorist groups and drug smugglers had no boundaries, it was essential that the Sahel states coordinate and work confidently. To this end, France organized on 18 December a meeting on drug trafficking and its implications for peace and security in West Africa and in the Sahel.
Following this meeting, the Security Council adopted a presidential statement.
The complete timeline of events here.
26 February 2014 - Visit of the Security Council to Mali - Statement by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
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.
23 January 2014 - Security Council - Presidential statement - Situation in Mali.
14 December 2013 - Security Council - press statement - Attack on the MINUSMA
12 December 2013 - Security Council - Presidential statement - Peace and security in Africa.
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