posted on Wed 29 Aug 2018 4:51 PM
Mali Sanctions Regime Renewal

Tomorrow (30 August), the Security Council is expected to adopt a resolution renewing the sanctions regime on Mali established by resolution 2374 last year and the mandate of the Panel of Experts. The sanctions measures would target individuals and entities engaged in actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, or stability of Mali with a travel ban and/or asset freeze. No designations have been made to date, however.

France, the penholder on Mali, circulated the first draft to members and held an initial read-through with them last week. After one round of negotiations on Monday, the draft passed silence procedure yesterday and was put in blue with virtually no changes from the original text. The draft resolution renews until 31 August 2019 the provision for a travel ban and the asset freeze. It also extends until 30 September 2019 the mandate of the Panel of Experts, which is expected to produce a mid-term report no later than 28 February 2019, a final report no later than 15 August 2019, and periodic updates in between, as appropriate.

The draft requests the Secretary-General to take the necessary administrative measures as expeditiously as possible to re-establish the Panel of Experts, in consultation with the Committee, drawing, as appropriate, on the expertise of the current members of the panel. Although resolution 2374 requested the Secretary-General to create, in consultation with the Committee, a group of up to five experts, only four were appointed, as Russia opposed the appointment of the fifth expert.

Even though the draft welcomes the recent positive steps achieved in the implementation of the 2015 peace and reconciliation agreement, it also expresses the Council’s deep frustration that the parties have stalled its implementation for such a long time. In this regard, the draft stresses the absolute urgency for the parties to take unprecedented steps to fully and expeditiously deliver on remaining obligations under the agreement.

Despite the widespread concerns about the slow pace of implementing the peace agreement, it is unclear if all Council members would support the listing of individuals and entities. At an 11 April briefing in the Council, France, the Netherlands, the UK and the US expressed support for identifying those obstructing, delaying or threatening the implementation of the peace agreement, with a view to imposing sanctions. However, Russia said that “the direct use of sanctions should be a measure of last resort”, and that “rushing to impose restrictions will hinder the entire settlement process”. The final report of the Panel of Experts (S/2018/581) included a confidential annex proposing the designation of three individuals belonging to non-state armed groups, but no action has been taken by the Sanctions Committee in this regard.

In a 24 August press statement, Council members welcomed the publication of the final results of the presidential elections in Mali. They congratulated the people and the government for the generally peaceful conduct of the presidential elections, despite challenging security conditions and limited reports of violence in some areas. They called upon all Malians to unite their efforts and work together to promote sustainable peace and tackle the security and development challenges facing the country.