The United Nations Security Council has renewed the mandate of its peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA, for a further twelve months. The seven-year operation has been beefed up and given extra powers, despite a divergence between the United States and France over the mission’s effectiveness.
UN Security Council members on Monday voted unanimously to extend the mandate of MINUSMA, the organisation’s peacekeeping mission to Mali, until 30 June 2021.
The number of personnel will be increased to 13,289 soldiers and 1,920 police officers.
The mission’s budget has also been boosted to 1.2 billion dollars, making MINUSMA – the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali – the third most expensive peacekeeping operation in the world.
It is also one of the most dangerous, and many observers agree that the extra resources are vitally necessary. […]
For the first time too, MINUSMA will provide support to the G5 Sahel Joint force, notably through the appointment of its former Africa bureau chief, Bruno Mpondo-Epo, as special adviser to the UN’s special representative to Mali, Mahamat Saleh Annadif.
„I think it’s an attempt to better coordinate efforts,“ reckons Varenne.
Currently, there are several military operations in the Sahel, including France’s 5,000-strong Operation Barkhane, the G5 force, comprising troops from neighbouring Sahel countries, a European Union training mission known as Takuba, due to be set up in 2021, and the MINUSMA operation.
„MINUSMA’s new political mandate can be seen as a compromise between the US and France,“ Leslie Varenne explains.
„The United States were incredibly skittish about spending any more money,“ she says. „The fact that they’ve accepted a bigger budget and agreed to enlarge the mission’s mandate suggests that they must have received guarantees in return.“
The renewal does commit to presenting a „possible exit strategy“ for the mission by March 2021, but Varenne reckons the Americans may have obtained more during negotiations.
„The Americans have been lobbying for their candidate David Gressly to take over MINUSMA from Chadian boss Mahamat Saleh Annadif,“ she says. Gressly is the current head of the UN peacekeeping force in the DR Congo.
„If they succeed, the Americans won’t mind that MINUSMA takes on a bigger political role if that role is in their hands.“
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