Mali has experienced some progress in its quest to returning to lasting peace and stability, according to Mahamat Saleh Annadif, Special Representative and head of the UN Mission to the country (MINUSMA).
Annadif made the remarks in his address to the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday via video-conference from Bamako. He however noted that the peace developments in the country were not happening fast enough.
“The report under your consideration is being presented at a time, when latest developments from Mali are not very encouraging”, said Annadif, citing attacks near the Burkina Faso border last week, and the death of a MINUSMA peacekeeper and wounding of another, just 48 hours ago.
“In spite of these repeated attacks committed by enemies of peace, significant strides forward have been achieved in implementing the agreement, in particular as far as the political and institutional reform are concerned, security issues and matters of socioeconomic development”, he added.
Malian authorities together with two coalitions of armed groups signed a peace and reconciliation agreement three years ago in an effort to stabilize the country following violent clashes and a failed putsch by extremists.
Since 2013, nearly 200 peacekeepers have been killed in the country, making MINUSMA the deadliest UN mission in the world.
In late September, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta told the UN General Assembly that Mali would prepare to hold a national dialogue to prompt reconciliations and strengthening of democracy, which Annadif confirmed, got underway on Monday 7 October.
The national discussions are meant to address the root causes of the country’s political and social upheavals and serve as an opportunity for Malians to talk to one another and be included in the peace process, which have already begun at the local level.