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8 August 2012 - Mali/Syria - Remarks to the press by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the Unied Nations

(in French and in English)



La réunion du Conseil de sécurité d’aujourd’hui a permis au Secrétaire général des Nations unies et à la Commissaire à la paix et à la sécurité de la CEDEAO de présenter un point de situation, notamment sur les derniers développements politiques à Bamako et sur les efforts de planification actuellement en cours pour envisager le déploiement d’une force de la CEDEAO au Mali.

La CEDEAO a engagé un processus de médiation pour appuyer la stabilisation du Mali. Elle propose de déployer une force de stabilisation pour contribuer à la sécurisation des institutions maliennes et au renforcement des forces maliennes pour les aider à rétablir la souveraineté de l’Etat sur tout le territoire malien.

Le Conseil de sécurité a ensuite examiné ces propositions et a exprimé sa disponibilité à poursuivre le dialogue avec la CEDEAO.

At today’s meeting, the Secretary-General and the Commissioner for Peace and Security of ECOWAS updated the Security Council on the situation in Mali, including the latest political developments in Bamako and the planning efforts currently under way to consider the deployment of an ECOWAS force in Mali.

ECOWAS initiated a mediation process to support the stabilisation in Mali. It proposes to deploy a stabilization force to assist in securing the Malian institutions and strengthening the Malian forces to help them to restore the sovereignty of the State on all the Malian territory.

The Security Council has expressed during its consultations its availability to pursue the dialogue with the ECOWAS.

Q: One of the Security Council member told me that the issue seems to be whether the Malian military buys in to the ECOWAS plan, and also you said that Mr Bassolé asked Ansar Eddine to break its ties with terrorists in order to participate in a dialogue. Is that France’s position and how they would do that, a press release, they tell you …?

On your first question, it is obvious that ECOWAS is not going to deploy a force in Mali under a UN mandate without an official request by the legitimate authorities of Mali. So the first thing we have to receive is a request coming from the authorities in Bamako.

I can’t answer on behalf of Mr Bassolé. As for the mediation efforts led by the mediator with the President Compaoré of Burkina Faso, we know that Mr Bassolé was in Gao 48 hours ago, we haven’t received a report yet.

Q: ECOWAS would like an endorsement for their efforts from the Security Council. What does it look like?

In a resolution. ECOWAS wants to send a force. In legal terms they don’t need the endorsement by the Security Council. If the government of Mali asks ECOWAS to send a force on its territory, legally it is enough. Any government has the right to ask another government or organisation to send a force on its territory. But they want to have the international legitimacy provided by the UN.

So they want the Security Council to adopt a resolution taking into account the request by Mali and by ECOWAS to send a force. We are not going to give this authorization, and that was the general feeling of the Council, without being informed about the mission of the force, about the concept of operations. It would be part of the request of ECOWAS and of Mali when they come.

Q : Plus d’un mois s’est écoulé depuis le vote de la résolution sur le Mali, on a l’impression que le dossier s’enlise et que vous ne parvenez pas à obtenir la demande officielle de la CEDEAO, qu’est-ce qui bloque ?

Nous attendons simplement que la CEDEAO présente sa demande. Techniquement, ce n’est pas facile. Il y a eu le vote de la résolution 2056 au début du mois de juillet, ensuite une mission technique militaire de la CEDEAO est allée à Bamako pendant une douzaine de jours, et ensuite il y a la préparation des documents militaires et politiques. De nouveau, la question doit être adressée à la CEDEAO. Du côté du Conseil de sécurité, nous sommes simplement dans une position d’attente : nous attendons que la demande soit formulée par le gouvernement du Mali et par la CEDEAO.

Q: France has been a consistent and strong supporter of the Free Syrian Army. With that in mind, what is France’s position on the abduction of four dozens Iranian nationals by the Free Syrian Army?

We are concerned about all the violence erupting in Syria. You are talking about abductions; there are also a lot of people who have disappeared in Syria. Thousands of people are being detained by the Syrian government; there have been assassinations, arrests, shelling of civilian neighbourhoods. It is obvious that the violence is increasing everyday. It means that the Syrian government should engage in a political process for a transition of power to a democratic government.

Q: Do you condemn the kidnapping?

We condemn all the violence in Syria, all violence against civilians.

Q: The situation in Mali cannot be isolated from the region as a whole. These terrorists who are kidnapping and killing derive their ideologies from neighbouring countries in the region. Are there any mediation done with the Saudis for example to curtail such ideologies from spreading all over North Africa?

I am not aware that Saudi Arabia has anything to do with that.


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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU