NB8 statement at Veto Initiative debate on Mali

General Assembly meeting ‘Situation in Mali’

11 September 2023

Delivered by H.E. Ambassador Christina Markus Lassen, Permanent Representative of Denmark to the United Nations

On behalf of Nordic-Baltic States (NB8)

Thank you President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic States, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden – and my own country Denmark. We thank you for convening this important meeting.


It is deeply concerning that a permanent member of the Security Council continues to exploit its position to prevent the Council from conducting its duties, as seen with the latest veto by Russia regarding the extension of the UN Sanctions Regime and Panel of Experts for Mali.

We underline the significance of resolution 76/262. The veto-initiative is a vital tool in making the Council more transparent and accountable. In this connection we encourage continued provision of Special Reports, and again call for the Council to consider their formal adoption, and appropriate reflection in a standalone section in the Council’s Annual Report.

We – as signatories to the Charter of the UN – have entrusted the Security Council with the primary responsibility to maintain international peace and security and to discharge its duties in accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

We would like to express our support for the work of the co-penholders, France and the United Arab Emirates and we regret that the use of the veto has prevented the Council from taking necessary action on yet another highly important matter. The proposed resolution had wide support from the Security Council members, with 13 voting in favor, including the African Security Council members.

The UN Sanctions Regime for Mali and the Panel of Experts were established to bolster and monitor the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali. Their primary objective was to facilitate an environment conducive to overcoming challenges in implementing the Peace Agreement. With the regrettable decision of the exit of MINUSMA, these instruments would have been more important than ever. Russia’s veto disregards the needs on the ground.


The removal of these instruments increases the risks to peace and security in Mali, including in the northern regions. A potential escalation of conflict would further destabilize Mali and risks having devastating ripple effects throughout the Sahel and beyond. Instability and insecurity affect the people of Mali, as we have seen with the latest wave of attacks that killed civilians last Friday.

In January 2023, 8.8 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance in Mali. In some provinces, there are people facing famine. There is forced displacement both in Mali and beyond its borders. We cannot ignore the level of human suffering caused by conflict and instability.


We, the eight Nordic and Baltic countries, have a long history of cooperation with Mali, including on human rights. We call on all parties to promote sustainable development and peace and to honor commitments of safeguarding civilians and upholding international humanitarian- and international human rights law. Implementing the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation remains instrumental.

Similarly, we call on support to an orderly and safe withdrawal of peacekeeping forces, while upholding the Status of Forces Agreement until the full withdrawal of MINUSMA has been completed. The Nordic and Baltic countries will continue to support MINUSMA as best we can, including while the mission is embarking on the very challenging task of a quick drawdown.

And finally, we hope the clear message from the General Assembly today on the importance of the promotion of peace and security is heard. We need a Security Council that can carry out its important mandate in accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Thank you.