The United Nations Security Council has unanimously approved a resolution paving the way for sanctions against those who obstruct the 2015 Mali peace agreement.
The French-sponsored resolution also authorizes sanctions against those who obstruct the delivery of humanitarian aid and plan or commit acts that violate international human rights.
This decision now paves way for the formation of a sanctions committee comprising all 15 council members.
The committee will then designate the individuals and entities that should be put on the sanctions blacklist.
France’s UN ambassador, Francois Delattre, told the council after the vote that the resolution sends a very strong dissuasive message to those still fighting and impeding peace in Mali.
“More than two years after the signing of the peace agreement, the peace process is at a critical point where the progress that was made so far is threatened by a certain lack of political will as well as from agitations which are undermining the progress achieved. The sanctions regime will usefully complete a range of tools available to us collectively in order to resolve the crisis in Mali,” Delattre said.
The Sahel region has in recent years turned into a breeding ground for jihadists groups – some linked to al-Qaeda and Islamic State. European countries – particularly France – fear that if unchecked, the situation could pose a huge threat to Europe.
A peace deal signed in 2015 between the government and separatists has largely failed to stop violence in the country, with attacks on U.N. troops making the peacekeeping mission there the deadliest in the world.
With the UNSC resolution now, anyone who attacks peacekeepers could be blacklisted by the Security Council.