I would like to thank Special Representative of the Secretary-General Annadif for his briefing and express Estonia’s full support to the work of MINUSMA.
Mali is now a little more than four months into the 18-month transition period. We take note of the steps that have been taken thus far, including the formation of the transitional government and the National Transition Council. The representation of the signatory armed groups for the first time presents an opportunity for a more inclusive political process. But now is the time to act – we urge all parties to take concrete steps to work together for a common goal of peace in Mali. All groups of the society need to be included in the process.
In preparations for the presidential and parliamentary elections at the end of the transitional period, we call on the transitional authorities to step up the implementation of the necessary institutional and governance reforms. It is of utmost importance to maintain rule of law and constitutional order in Mali.
I would further like to underline the importance of full, equal and meaningful participation of women in the political process as well as in the society at large. Making women’s voices heard at every stage of the decision making process and ensuring the representation of women will help create more inclusive and stable conditions for achieving peace in Mali.
I would like to commend the African Union and ECOWAS for their commitment and their engagement in supporting the political transition in Mali. Regional organisations can play an indispensable role in supporting political transitions.
The overall security situation in Mali remains of great concern. We are extremely alarmed by the coordinated attacks towards the national and international security presence as well as the deliberate targeting of civilians by the terrorists and armed groups. Estonia will continue to do its part in the fight against terrorism by contributing to MINUSMA, the European Union training mission in Mali, the French-led operation Barkhane and its special operations Task Force Takuba.
However, the international efforts in achieving peace in Mali, including in the framework of the Sahel Coalition, are only there to support the Malian authorities. Stable, long lasting and adequate state presence all over the country can only be achieved with a clear political will and in full cooperation with all Malian parties.
That said, I would like to reiterate our firm understanding that the Algiers Peace Agreement remains the basis for a political solution to the Malian conflict. It is positive that the Agreement Monitoring Committee could meet in November after a five-month break and we are encouraged by the discussions that took place. Now the parties need to show full political ownership and take concrete steps in implementing the agreement.
Mr. President, I would like to turn to the question of accountability. The continuing rise in the grave human rights violations and abuses is appalling and simply unacceptable. It is of utmost importance to break the cycle of impunity and to ensure that all perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses as well as violators of international humanitarian law are brought to justice. Reconciliation and rebuilding trust in the society is the only way forward in achieving lasting peace.
We strongly urge the Malian authorities to conduct full investigations into all attacks on civilians and that includes allegations against the national security forces. We note that some trials have taken place and encourage more to follow. We also encourage the Malian authorities to consider the recommendations made in the recent report by the International Commission of Inquiry. Every step needs to be taken to build a transparent and fully functioning judicial system.
Finally, Mr. President, I would like to express our continued concern about the dire humanitarian situation in Mali. We call on all relevant parties to allow access to humanitarian aid to those most in need.