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Renewed Violence Threatens Mali as MINUSMA Withdraws

(FILE) A French soldier stands alongside African troops during a ceremony transforming the force into a United Nations peacekeeping mission.

The decision by the transition government in Mali to close MINUSMA has already triggered renewed violence on the ground, said Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

Renewed Violence Threatens Mali as MINUSMA Withdraws
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The decision by the transition government in Mali to close the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, or MINUSMA, has already triggered renewed violence on the ground, said U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield:

“We are alarmed by a resumption of hostilities in northern Mali, including by violations of the ceasefire during the August 11th and 12th clashes at the Ber Camp and by subsequent attacks on a MINUSMA convoy on August 13th. Additionally, MINUSMA’s withdrawal limits the ability of the international community to protect civilians from the predations of Wagner, whose activities contribute to greater insecurity in the country.”

Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield expressed her gratitude to the men and women of MINUSMA, and to the troop- and police-contributing countries for their commitment to peace in Mali in the face of grave danger.

“And we strongly condemn senseless attacks on peacekeepers, which threaten to reverse years of progress toward peace and stability – and undo so many of the remarkable gains made by the UN and Malians,” she said.

The Malian people deserve peace, declared Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield. “And further instability would open the doors to JNIM and ISIS-Sahel to spread their access and influence. It would be a recipe for disaster.”

The Malian transition government and signatory armed groups, along with the UN and the international community, must demonstrate a revitalized commitment to the Algiers Accord, urged Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield:

“This agreement continues to represent the best opportunity for lasting peace and stability in Mali. Plain and simple. To that end, we call on all signatory parties to immediately renew their cooperation with the International Mediation.”

The United States urges the parties to settle their disputes through dialogue and engage with MINUSMA on an agreement for the safe and peaceful transfer of its camps and bases to the Malian authorities. As the situation grows increasingly volatile, these transfers must prioritize the safety and security of peacekeepers.

Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield reminded the transition authorities that the Status of Forces Agreement – and its provisions ensuring MINUSMA’s freedom of movement throughout Mali – remains in full effect until the mission’s final element has departed, which will extend beyond December 31st.

Mali’s leaders have an opportunity to build on MINUSMA’s legacy and recommit to dialogue to settle differences rather than violence. Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield urged all Malians to choose the path of peace.