The Security Council on Tuesday decided to renew the mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) until June 30, 2022, and to task the mission with supporting the country’s political transition ahead of presidential and legislative elections slated for Feb. 27, 2022.
The resolution drafted by France to that effect was adopted unanimously and provides for a renewed mandate for the MINUSMA peacekeeping mission at its current strength of maximum 13,289 soldiers and 1,920 police.
After announcing the end of its Barkhane mission in the war-torn Sahel state, former colonial power France had hoped to be able to increase the strength of MINUSMA by a few thousand peacekeepers but the June 30 deadline for the end of the mission came too soon for it to secure a green light from the US Congress for extra UN spending in Mali.
Further, the Council called for the inclusion within national and regional strategies of programs that address the stigma of sexual and gender-based violence, bring justice to victims and survivors, and support their reintegration into their communities.
Highlighting the growing insecurity and physical violence against civilians in central Mali, the Council also requested that the secretary-general provide recommendations on the force levels and ceiling of MINUSMA’s uniformed personnel no later than July 15, 2021 in order to facilitate its future discussions.
Mali is struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency that erupted in 2012 and which has claimed thousands of military and civilian lives.
Despite the presence of thousands of French and UN troops, the conflict has engulfed the north-central area of the country and spread to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.
Story compiled with assistance from wire reports