UN Security Council halts peacekeeping mission in Mali

UN Security Council halts peacekeeping mission in Mali

The United Nations Security Council unanimously agreed on Friday to put an end to a decade-long peacekeeping mission in Mali after the West African country’s military junta abruptly ordered the 13,000-strong force to leave.

The operation, known as MINUSMA, came to a conclusion after years of tensions and government restrictions hampered peacekeeping air and ground operations since Mali teamed up in 2021 with Russia’s Wagner force.

The 15-member council adopted a French-drafted resolution requesting that the UN begin on Saturday “the cessation of its operations, transfer of its tasks, as well as the orderly and safe drawdown and withdrawal of its personnel, with the objective of completing this process by Dec. 31, 2023.”

The United States Government says the push to end the UN mission in Mali was allegedly orchestrated by Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, Reuters reported.

The White House accused Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin of assisting in the eviction of UN forces from Mali while the Security Council voted and said it had information indicating Mali’s government had paid the Russian private forces more than $200 million since late 2021.

Mali has not responded to the allegation raised by the United States, but Russia’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador said at the Security Council meeting that Mali had made a “sovereign decision.”

Despite the resolution to dissolve the mission, MINUSMA will remain in Mali until December 31, 2023.

The mission is also allowed to provide protection for United Nations personnel, facilities, convoys, installations, and equipment, as well as associated individuals; to carry out operations to extract United Nations personnel and humanitarian workers who are in danger, and to facilitate medical evacuations.

Mali has failed to quell the extremist insurgency that arose following an uprising in 2012.

The Security Council established MINUSMA in 2013 to assist foreign and local efforts to restore stability.

Mali has witnessed two military coups in 2020 and 2021 due to the security challenges facing the country.

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