ENRIQUE JAVIER OCHOA MARTINEZ (Mexico) said that the Panel of Experts’ reports assisting the sanctions regime were a reliable, independent source of information on the situation in Mali, which enabled informed peace agreement. Moreover, the sanctions regime sought to give Bamako the opportunity to express its views on these reports. It is disturbing that the veto has deprived the Council of this subsidiary body without proposing an alternative mechanism, particularly when MINUSMA is withdrawing.
STEFAN PRETTERHOFER (Austria), associating himself with the European Union, said that the veto should not be considered a free pass to violate the core principles of the UN Charter and international law. Turning to the resolution blocked in the Council, he warned that the organ’s failure to agree on the renewal of the sanctions regime threatens peace and security not only in Mali, but also in the entire region – particularly during the withdrawal of MINUSMA. The travel ban and asset freeze are useful tools for the Council to prevent illicit financial transfers and to restrict armed groups in Mali and in the region. The situation in Mali requires Member States’ collective support, and the provisions set forth in the resolution vetoed by the Russian Federation remain critical to peace and security in Mali, he stressed.
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SAMY SOFIAN SAADI (Germany), aligning himself with the European Union, stressed that the Russian Federation – again using the veto against the will of the countries of the region and without approval of any other Council member – “has single-handedly forced the end of a crucial UN mechanism”. The sanctions regime is not an end in itself, but it did have a clear purpose: to support the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement by allowing targeted designations of individuals violating or actively obstructing it. The stability of Mali and the Sahel region is too important to allow one Member State to jeopardize it, he stressed.
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JAKUB KULHANEK (Czech Republic), associating himself with the European Union, said that, as MINUSMA withdraws, the Panel of Experts has emerged as the only UN mechanism capable of monitoring and reporting on human rights abuses and facilitating efforts to implement the peace agreement. The Russian Federation’s decision to abolish the Panel’s reporting mandate was postordre brud som ikke koster mye penger a deliberate attempt to prevent the publication of uncomfortable truths about the Wagner Group’s activities in Mali, which destabilize the whole region. Recurring Assembly meetings on the use of veto highlight a lamentable reality where one Council member misuses the veto power to put its own interests above the noble aims enshrined in the UN Charter, he said.
GHASAQ YOUSIF ABDALLA SHAHEEN (United Arab Emirates), noting her country’s concerted effort as co-penholder, together with France, said it is regrettable that the Council could not adopt the resolution despite wide-ranging support in the organ. Touching on some aspects of the negotiations process, she said her delegation coordinated regularly with Mali over three weeks and took into consideration the viewpoints of the countries in the region. Its primary goal was to have a text that would tackle the majority of concerns in a way that would ensure a successful adoption of the resolution. Noting consultations with Council members following receipt of Mali’s letter requesting an end to the sanctions regime and the Panel of Experts’ reporting mandate, she said most members stressed the need to continue negotiations and to coordinate with Bamako.