Speaking at the UN Security Council meeting on UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador K Nagaraj Naidu said the mission is “overburdened with a huge mandate, but lack of commensurate resources is affecting its functioning.
“If MINUSMA has to carry out its mandate more effectively, it must be adequately equipped with resources. The quest for more with increasingly scarce resources will be counterproductive,” Naidu said.
Naidu informed the Council that the Indian Government will consider positively the Secretary General’s proposal for deployment of air assets in MINUSMA.
Earlier, India had also contributed one million dollars to African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA) fund in 2013.
Naidu said India has taken note of the Secretary General’s update on MINUSMA’s operations, security challenges and transition plan, including a possible exit strategy.
“MINUSMA is playing an important role in stabilizing the security situation in Mali through its political and military support to the peace process, along with its confidence-building measures,” he said, applauding efforts of MINUSMA peacekeepers, who are functioning under complex and difficult circumstances.
Naidu also stressed that the menace of terrorism cannot be tackled alone by Mali or any one State in the Sahel region.
“The Joint Force of the Group of Five for the Sahel (FC-G5S), therefore, requires more robust support from the Council and from the international community.”
He expressed condolences over the recent unfortunate deaths of Malian defense personnel, MINUSMA peacekeepers, and French soldiers, saying the international community must not lose sight of the fact that the seeds of the crisis in Mali were sown in the Libyan conflict in 2011.
He noted that the main reason for the coup d’etat and overthrow of the civilian government in 2012 was the alleged mishandling of the situation in Northern Mali.
The situation further worsened due to the offensive by terrorist and extremist armed groups in Southern Mali in early 2013.
Naidu noted with concern that despite MINUSMA’s presence for nearly eight years and the continued efforts of the international community, particularly France, Mali is still witnessing a repeat of same set of events of 2012.
“The political situation remains precarious,” he said adding that the Malian government is facing capacity issues, along with issues related to lack of resources; security situation in central and northern Mali remains worrisome; terrorist groups such as Jama’a Nusrat ul- Islam wa al-Muslimin’ (JNIM) and the Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS) are growing in strength; and, attacks against civilians, MINUSMA, Malian security and defence forces, international forces and humanitarian agencies are continuing unabated.
He said while discussing the situation in Mali and MINUSMA, the international community needs to be cognizant of the factors contributing to the prolonged crisis in the country.
In this context, he said the political developments in the last three months in Mali provide reasons for “cautious optimism” in the coming days.
The appointment of the civilian President and Prime Minister, the formation of the Transitional Government, issuance of a Transitional Charter & Road Map and constitution of 121-member National Transition Council (CNT), are all welcome developments.
Naidu added that the Transitional Government has also shown commitment to advance the implementation of the Peace Agreement and has accommodated stakeholders from the north in the CNT.
“While implementation of the Peace Agreement is critical for stability in the North, addressing issues concerning central Mali, deserve an equally close attention of the authorities,” he said.
India also pointed out that an expeditious progress on institutional, political, and electoral reforms is needed to achieve the ambitious target of holding elections by the end of the 18 month transition period.
Recommendations of the National Inclusive Dialogue provide a basis to build consensus around issues of national importance.
India welcomed the setting up of a Transitional Support Group by the African Union and a Follow-up Committee by Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and hoped that there will be positive progress in the coming months.
Naidu also stressed that re-establishing State presence and State authority is fundamental to achieving peace and stability in Mali.