- By its resolution 2480 (2019), the Security Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) until 30 June 2020 and requested me to report to the Council every three months on the implementation of the resolution. The present report covers major developments in Mali since my previous report (S/2019/983), dated 30 December 2019, as well as progress made in the implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali and the Government’s efforts to address the situation in central Mali. It also provides an update on cooperation between the elements of the security presence in Mali and the implementation of the Mission’s adaptation plan.
II. Major political developments
The inclusive national dialogue concluded in Bamako on 22 December 2019 with the adoption of four resolutions and a series of recommendations. The resolutions included a call for the holding of legislative elections before May 2020, followed by a constitutional referendum, the redeployment of the reconstituted armed forces and State administration throughout the country and a review of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali in keeping with the Agreement’s article 65. Both signatory armed movements – the Coordination des mouvements de l’Azawad and the Platform coalition of armed groups – welcomed the outcome of the dialogue. Political parties of the opposition that had decided not to participate in the dialogue subsequently expressed their willingness to move forward and ensure the effective implementation of the decisions.
The Government therefore announced on 22 February that legislative elections for the first and second rounds would be held on 29 March and 19 April, respectively. Several opposition parties and civil society groups expressed concern that persistent insecurity in central and northern Mali and the absence of State authorities may jeopardize the polls in some areas. However, they expressed their willingness to participate in elections. The Government decided to organize the elections on the basis of the existing delineation of electoral districts, which does not include the 11 cercles and 2 regions of Taoudenni and Ménaka in northern Mali created in 2016.
In communiqués issued on 25 January and 16 February, respectively, the Coordination des mouvements de l’Azawad conditioned its participation in and support for the elections on the inclusion in the poll of the cercles and regions created in 2016. It also called for territorial and administrative restructuring to ensure a larger representation of northern Mali in the national institutions, as well as the participation of Malian refugees and internally displaced persons. On 3 February, Imam Mahmoud Dicko, a popular religious leader, announced that, contrary to initial plans, his movement, which had been created in September 2019, would not participate in the polls.
On 29 February, the Constitutional Court published the final list of candidates for legislative elections. For 147 seats to be filled, the Court received 560 lists, for a total of 1,447 candidates, including 1,021 men and 426 women. Of the 560 lists submitted, 546 were validated.
One of the recommendations resulting from the inclusive national dialogue was that the Government open a dialogue with terrorist leaders Amadou Koufa and Iyad Ag Ghali, who are designated on the Security Council’s ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida sanctions list. In a media interview conducted on 10 February, the President of Mali,
Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, expressed support for such an initiative, noting that talking with jihadists would not be contradictory to combating terrorism. In a press release issued on 8 March, Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin terrorist group conditioned the initiation of dialogue with authorities on the departure of international forces from Mali.
In Bamako, with the support of MINUSMA and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, the Government held a high-level workshop on women’s participation in the decision-making bodies of the peace process and the broader political system on 22 and 23 January. A total of 200 women leaders, representing all regions of Mali, participated. In the workshop, specific measures were recommended, including an increase in the number of women in the mechanisms of the Peace Agreement from 3 to 30 per cent; the creation of an independent women’s observatory to monitor the progress of the implementation of the Agreement; and the establishment of a monitoring framework to follow up on the outcomes of the workshop. The signatory parties expressed their full support for the recommendations.
The Prime Minister of Mali, Boubou Cissé, visited Gao on 27 and 28 January and Timbuktu from 29 to 31 January, respectively. He was accompanied by the Minister for Social Cohesion, Peace and National Reconciliation, Lassine Bouaré, and the Army Chief of Staff, General Abdoullaye Coulibaly. During his visit, Mr. Cissé launched rehabilitation works for the Gao-Sévaré road, keeping a promise that he had made following popular protests in September 2019. From 4 to 6 March, Mr. Cissé led an official visit to Kidal, Aguelhok and Tessalit, accompanied by eight government ministers and representatives of the international community, including the African Development Bank and the World Bank Group. The delegation visited a reconstituted unit of the Malian Armed Forces in Kidal and a viewed numb er of infrastructure projects.