New York: Strongly condemning repeated violations of the ceasefire arrangements by the Plateforme and Coordination in and around northern Mali’s restive Kidal town, the United Nations Security Council on Thursday warned that such acts threaten the viability of the peace agreement in the country and called on the armed groups to immediately cease hostilities and return to dialogue.
In a Presidential Statement issued by the Council after consultations, the 15-member body “urged the Government, and the Plateforme and Coordination armed groups to fully and sincerely maintain their commitments under the Agreement [on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali].”
“The Security Council also recalled its readiness to consider targeted sanctions against those who take actions to obstruct the implementation of the Agreement as well as those who resume hostilities and violate the ceasefire, as expressed in its resolution 2295 (2016),” the Statement added.
The Security Council also urged the Government to engage with the UN Secretary-General, through his Special Representative for Mali, to establish “concrete benchmarks and timelines” to assess the progress toward the implementation of the Agreement as well as on members of the Comité de suivi de l’Accord and other relevant international partners to continue their support to the Agreement’s implementation.
Expressing concern over the expansion of terrorist and other criminal activities across the country, and, in particular, into central and southern Mali, as well as the intensification of intercommunal violence in the centre of Mali, the Council emphasized that the national authorities have the primary obligation for the provision of stability and security throughout the country’s territory.
Additionally, strongly condemning attacks, including terrorist attacks, against the Malian defense and security forces, the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA) and the French forces that support it, the Council stressed the need to bring the perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of such acts to justice.
Also in the statement, the Security Council further expressed serious concern over the insecurity that hinders humanitarian access, as well as attacks against aid workers, and emphasized the need for all parties to respect the principles of humanitarian assistance.
The Security Council also emphasized the need for all parties to ensure the safety and protection of civilians receiving assistance and the security of humanitarian personnel operating in Mali.
The Malian Government has been seeking to restore stability and rebuild following a series of setbacks since early 2012, including a military coup d’état, renewed fighting between Government forces and Tuareg rebels, and the seizure of its northern territory by radical extremists. The country has also been wracked by a series of humanitarian crises.
Image caption: MINUSMA/Blagoje Grujic
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