U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali to end on June 30

U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali to end on June 30

The United Nations is set to end its ten-year peacekeeping mission in Mali on June 30, according to a draft Security Council resolution proposed by France. The withdrawal of the 13,000-strong mission, known as MINUSMA, comes after years of tensions between the U.N. and Mali’s military junta, which came to a head this month when Mali Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop asked the force to leave “without delay”. The withdrawal would mean an abrupt halt to a mission that has been hobbled by government restrictions since Mali teamed up with Russia’s Wagner mercenary group in 2021. Experts fear the security situation could worsen when the mission departs, leaving Mali’s under-equipped army alone with about 1,000 Wagner fighters to combat militants who control swaths of territory in the desert north and centre.

Under the draft resolution, U.N. personnel will stay until the end of the year to allow for a transition, but during that period MINUSMA activities will be pared back, including key support it provides to Malian soldiers. The Security Council will vote on the resolution on Thursday. To be adopted, the resolution needs at least nine votes in favour and no vetoes by Russia, China, the United States, Britain or France. Russia and China have long been seen as sceptical of MINUSMA, with Russia’s mercenaries operating in Mali.

MINUSMA was launched in 2013 after separatist rebels and al Qaeda-linked insurgents occupied northern Mali. French troops forced the militants to retreat but they regrouped. Mali has since become the epicentre of a violent movement that has spread across West Africa and forced millions to flee. More than 170 peacekeepers have died in fighting, making MINUSMA the U.N.’s deadliest ongoing combat mission. The force has been criticised by Mali’s military leaders, who consolidated power over two coups in 2020 and 2021, and by civilians, for not doing more to stem the bloodshed.

The U.N. has repeatedly complained that restrictions on troop and aircraft movements had stopped it from fulfilling its mandate, including investigating alleged rights abuses by Wagner and Mali’s army, allegations they deny. Still, many African nations wanted MINUSMA to stay and even increase its troop numbers, they said in discussions this year. It has protected cities including Gao and Timbuktu that are surrounded by militants, provided medical evacuations for Malian soldiers, and flown government officials across the country to avoid driving in conflict zones.

Under the draft resolution, operations would be pared down to providing security to U.N. personnel, facilities and convoys. MINUSMA would provide medical evacuations to U.N. staff. Where possible, and with permission from Malian authorities, “MINUSMA is authorised to respond to imminent threats of violence to civilians and contribute to the safe civilian-led delivery of humanitarian assistance in its immediate vicinity,” the draft says.

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Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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