(in French and in English)
La réunion du Conseil de sécurité sur le Mali a été l’occasion tout d’abord de constater un succès. Rappelez-vous ce qu’était le Mali il y a un an : c’était un pays effondré, c’était un pays menacé par le terrorisme. Nous avons réussi à restaurer la légitimité constitutionnelle au Mali. Il y a eu une élection qui s’est passée de manière remarquable et l’ordre a été rétabli dans le pays.
Mais les défis restent devant nous. Nous avons eu une série d’attaques. Mais ces attaques ont été menées de manière amateuriste ; ce n’était pas des attaques coordonnées. Comme l’a dit le représentant spécial, c’est un peu une alerte. Nous devons rester vigilants et nous devons continuer.
Mais je crois que la première impression est celle du succès de la communauté internationale grâce aux Maliens eux-mêmes.
Les prochaines élections seront un nouvel élément dans cette marche en avant du Mali pour le rétablissement de la paix et de l’ordre constitutionnel.
Q : The Malian Minister Diarra said that MINUSMA, on the protection of civilians, could be doing more in Gao and Kidal, they should have a greater presence there. I wonder what the difference is in terms of mandate and role between MINUSMA and MONUSCO in the DRC? It seems, in the DRC, each time a shell falls on a city, it goes back at the rebels. Here shells are falling and it doesn’t seem there is any response. You said here they are amateurs. Can you explain the difference?
First, as Mr Koenders said, the main difference is that the force has just been created, on the 1st of July. The force is half of its strength. We are in the first weeks, the first months of the force.
Secondly, there was no need to retaliate or to shoot back. There was one shot. After that, you have to conduct an investigation to try to guess who did it. We will see exactly the way the force is behaving when the force is totally operational. I think it could be in the coming months.
Q: Can you summarize in English what you said? And how long do you think the country will need the French military?
First, to summarize what I said in French: it is a success story. When you look where Mali was last year - the country was collapsed, the terrorist were moving towards the capital - I think it is a remarkable success story, in a few months. The constitutional order has been restored. Recently the soldiers responsible of the coup dispersed. The presidential elections have been conducted in a remarkable way too.
Yes, there were few attacks. But they were not organized and they were quite amateurish. But, to quote Mr Koenders, it is a “wake-up call”. We have to be vigilant. We know we will face problems down the road. We know that the terrorists have not been eradicated. But when we see from where we are coming, I think it is quite a success. The next test of this success will be the next general elections.
As for the French forces, the drawdown of the French forces is conducted at the tempo that we had announced. We are keeping some soldiers a bit longer to support the general elections. But I think that at the beginning of next year, we will have in Mali a Serval force of around 1,000 soldiers.
Q: I want to make sure I didn’t misunderstand Mr Koenders. He was reporting that Mauritania offered peacekeepers to MINUSMA but only if they could remain in the part of the country near its own border. I don’t know what the DPKO policy is but my understanding is that it is between the Mauritanian and the Malian governments. Does that mean they wouldn’t be part of the MINUSMA? Is there some Malian role?
Mr Koenders just repeated what the policy is. We are in a sovereign country, Mali, and, as the host country, it has something to say about the contingents. That is the reason why Mr Koenders said it was between Mali and Mauritania. This type of conversation has to be conducted between Mali and Mauritania.
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