The United States is deeply concerned by the deteriorating security situation in Mali, U.S. Deputy Representative Ambassador Richard Mills told the United Nations. He noted the increasing audacity, frequency, and severity of attacks against civilians, national security forces, international forces, and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, or MINUSMA.
The humanitarian situation is also worrying, with 4.7 million people in need of assistance and some 400,000 internally displaced persons.
“It is imperative that the protection of civilians remains a top priority for the transition government and for MINUSMA,” declared Ambassador Mills. Furthermore, the transition government must take steps to combat impunity and ensure its citizens have a channel through which to express their concerns.
A military coup in August 2020 led to a takeover of the Malian government by a military junta. The transition charter was drafted in September and provided for a transition government, intended to govern for no more than 18 months. A second military takeover occurred in May 2021, but the military leaders pledged to adhere to the existing transition government timeline.
The Security Council continues to stand with the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, in calling for the transition government in Mali to adhere to the timetable for democratic presidential elections set for February 2022. The transition government needs to release an election calendar and make progress toward organizing elections. “While we agree that governance and corruption issues lie at the heart of Mali’s insecurity,” noted Ambassador Mills, “reforms the transition government initiates should either be completed within the agreed transition timeframe or turned over to an elected government to continue.”
The United States concurs with the provision in Mali’s transition charter that precludes the transition president and prime minister from running for office in the upcoming presidential election.
“It is critical that the February 2022 elections be free and fair,” accessible, and monitored by election observers, stressed Ambassador Mills. “We urge the transition government to ensure the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women in the elections, including ensuring that women are both on the ballot and registered to vote.”