Statement by Ambassador Jerry Matjila, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, during the Security Council Meeting on Mali

Excellencies,

I now address the Council in my national capacity, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank SRSG Annadif for his insightful briefing on developments in Mali pertaining to the implementation of the mandate of MINUSMA.

I also thank Ambassador Jose Weisinger for the update on the work of the 2374 Sanctions Committee.

My intervention this morning will focus on the political process, the security and humanitarian situation and also reflect on MINUSMA's support to the G5 Sahel Joint Force, as well as on the sanctions imposed on Mali.

On the political process, South Africa welcomes the launch of the inclusive national dialogue in September and urges stakeholders to participate in the national dialogue aimed at contributing to the creation of political and institutional reforms that will characterise the future State of Mali as well as address the situation in north and central Mali with a view to maintaining the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the country.

In this regard, we emphasise that the full implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation is vital for the establishment of peace, security and stability in north Mali. It is also important that all Malians, including women, actively participate in the political processes in their country.

In this regard, we are encouraged by efforts being made to establish an Independent Women Observatory for women to participate in the monitoring of the implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation. We believe that this is an important step towards improving the participation of women in the political process in Mali.

Excellencies,

On the security situation, South Africa remains concerned by the continued instability in north and central Mali as evidenced by sustained attacks against MINUSMA peacekeepers, national and international forces. We condemn the recent attacks that took place in September and early October that resulted in the loss of many lives including 38 Malian soldiers and a peacekeeper from Chad. It is important that the perpetrators of these attacks are held accountable and brought to justice.

The cessation of hostilities between the Fulani and Dogon communities in central Mali in efforts to reduce inter-communal violence is a positive development that must be commended. Despite this overture, the persisting inter-communal attacks that result in civilian casualties, that include women and children, have the potential to undermine the positive gains made. The protection of civilians, particularly, the vulnerable groups in this conflict must be a priority for all concerned. The Security Council should encourage, support and capacitate community-based conflict resolution, mediation and sustained inter-communal, inter-ethnic and inter-religious dialogue across Mali. These grassroots efforts should include women, youth, religious and tribal leaders.

We note the progress made to date in the accelerated disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration-integration process, which should contribute to the reformed and reconstituted Malian defence and security forces that can be deployed throughout the country, especially in north and central Mali. All measures must be taken by Malian authorities to address concerns regarding the DDR processes.

Excellencies,

As we heard from the briefing by SRSG Annadif, MINUSMA continues to help the authorities in Mali to restore state presence and state authority in north and central Mali aimed primarily at providing basic services to its people. This is particularly important for the normalisation of the living conditions and improvement of the lives of the ordinary citizens of Mali. However, such undertakings require sufficient resources. The international community should therefore redouble their efforts to mobilise the requisite funds for the humanitarian response plan for Mali.

South Africa would like to also reiterate the importance of a comprehensive and holistic approach to the multiple challenges facing Mali, particularly to improve economic growth and socio-economic development. In this regard, we are encouraged by the reports of the adoption of legislation to support the establishment of the Northern Development Zone (NDZ).

Excellencies,

We reiterate the importance of the G5 Sahel Joint Force in Mali and the Sahel region. Every effort should thus be made by the United Nations and its Member States to ensure that the continued challenges of the G5 Sahel Joint Force are addressed, and that it is fully capacitated as well as able to effectively implement its mandate. This is in addition to life-support consumables that the G5 Sahel Joint Force is already receiving from MINUSMA.

There is an urgent need to resolve the root causes of instability, inter-communal clashes, and terrorism and violent extremism. In this regard, the decision taken by the ECOWAS leaders at their recently concluded extraordinary Summit, which pledged resources to fighting terrorism in the region, is an indication of the willingness of countries from the Continent to resolve our problems.

Regarding sanctions imposed on Mali, allow me to reiterate my country's position that any sanctions regime should aim to support political processes and peace efforts, and not undermine them. The work of the sanctions committee should therefore ensure that the Mali sanctions regime is effective in supporting the implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation and not hinder it in any way.

In conclusion, South Africa is encouraged by the continued commitment of the international community through the United Nations to support the efforts towards the creation of peace, security and stability in Mali, which are precursors to the achievement of sustainable development.

I thank you.

Source: Department of International Relations and Cooperation