Mali: Security Council authorizes support mission
Refugees from northern Mali in Bamako
© dpa / picture alliance
The United Nations Security Council has approved an African-led international support mission for Mali, adopting Resolution 2085 (2012) unanimously on 20 December. The resolution authorizes the mission to support the government in taking action against the rebels in the northern part of the country and in restoring national unity.
The mission (AFISMA) is authorized by the resolution for an initial period of one year. It is intended to support capacity-building for Mali’s army and to help the country’s government in bringing the areas in the north back under state control. The mission’s tasks also include supporting Malian forces in the protection of civilians as well as creating a secure environment for the delivery of humanitarian aid. In mid-November, the members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) decided to deploy a force of around 3300 troops and asked for the Security Council’s approval.
Mali has been in a deep crisis since March 2012 when sections of the military under the leadership of Captain Amadou Sanogo launched a coup against the then President Amadou Toumani Touré. During the coup and the unrest that followed, Islamist groups managed to gain control of large parts of northern Mali. The international community fears that this area could become a haven for terrorists. After mediation efforts headed by ECOWAS, Dioncounda Traoré was appointed interim President on 12 April.
Getting the political process started
The Security Council also urged the transitional government of Mali to quickly initiate a political dialogue by preparing a road map that shows the way towards restoration of constitutional order and national unity. Presidential and legislative elections should be held as soon as possible.
The Security Council also reiterated its demand that Mali’s army not interfere with the work of the transitional government. The political situation in Mali worsened dramatically on 10 December, when the previous head of government, Cheick Modibo Diarra, was arrested by soldiers. He then resigned. President Traoré then named Diango Cissoko head of government.
Foreign Minister Westerwelle and Interim President Dionkounda Traoré
© Free of charge provided copyright is acknowledged:Photothek / Th. Trutschel
On 11 December, Foreign Minister Westerwelle issued an urgent appeal to all political powers in Mali to launch a political process. But at the same time he made clear: “Our offers of assistance were made on the condition that the work to restore constitutional order in Mali is performed in a convincing manner.” Westerwelle visited Mali on 1 November as part of his trip to the region and had talks with several political leaders in Bamako.
The humanitarian situation in Mali has been critical for months. According to the UN, an estimated five million people have been affected by the conflict in the north and more than 400,000 have fled the area. In addition to political instability, drought and food scarcity make the situation worse for the population.
Last updated 21.12.2012