Mali: State Dept. On UN Security Council Resolution On Mali

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STATEMENT BY PATRICK VENTRELL,

ACTING DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON

The United States welcomes adoption by the UN Security Council of a resolution on the situation in Mali. The resolution, cosponsored by the U.S., supports a comprehensive approach to addressing the overlapping governance, security, and humanitarian crises affecting Mali, which is an urgent priority of the United States.

We have worked collaboratively with our Security Council partners, the African Union, ECOWAS, and the European Union to ensure that this resolution provides a framework to address Mali's four primary challenges: restoration of democracy in Mali; finding a negotiated solution to the political grievances of northern groups that reject terrorism and accept Mali's territorial integrity; restoration of Mali's territorial integrity by reducing the threat posed by terrorist organizations including al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA) and associated extremist groups as well as disrupting international criminal networks; and responding to the ongoing humanitarian crisis.

Yesterday's resolution emphasizes a simultaneous political and military strategy to resolve Mali's crises. The resolution authorizes deployment of an African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) to assist Malian efforts to re-assert authority over their entire territory, including by contributions to rebuild the capacity of the Malian Defense and Security Forces. Our goal is to ensure that AFISMA is successful and that any offensive operation in northern Mali is maximally effective. The resolution emphasizes that military planning needs refinement before the commencement of the offensive operation and requests that the UN Secretary General confirm in advance the Council's satisfaction with the planned military offensive.

The resolution condemns strongly the continued political interference by members of the Malian military with the civilian government as well as all abuses of human rights and calls for holding perpetrators accountable. It also calls on the authorized force to support all efforts to bring to justice all perpetrators of serious human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law in Mali.

While we are pleased with the progress made yesterday in the Security Council, we maintain that voluntary contributions are the only effective and appropriate mechanism for funding logistical support for this non-UN mission. Based upon the United Nations' estimates, logistical support funded by voluntary contributions can be deployed faster and is likely to be significantly more cost effective than logistics funded through UN assessments. We must also ensure that any voluntary U.S. contributions to AFISMA are consistent with our own laws and regulations, and we are working with Congress for the necessary approvals to fund AFISMA's operations.

Success in Mali is in our strategic interest, and in the interest of our allies and partners. We will work to ensure that Mali, the region, and the international community have the right approach and resources to succeed.

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