I would like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, El-Ghassim Wane, and Ms. Beatrice Abouya for their presentations.
MINUSMA's withdrawal is of unprecedented scope and complexity. We welcome the priority that the United Nations is giving to its planning, which includes various components of the UN system. We support the objectives identified by the Secretary-General, such as ensuring the safety and security of personnel, safeguarding the Mission's achievements, and preserving an environment conducive to the UN's long-term commitment to Mali.
The withdrawal plan is ambitious, and the stakes for Mali are high. I would like to highlight three points:
Firstly, the safety and security of MINUSMA personnel must be ensured. The events in Ber a few weeks ago, and other cases where MINUSMA has been directly attacked, have shown just how exposed and threatened the mission's personnel are. Unfortunately, we can expect the risks to personnel to increase. All the more so as disinformation campaigns against MINUSMA are adopting new narratives. We thus welcome the measures presented by the Secretary-General in the field of strategic communication. Beyond the withdrawal of MINUSMA, we are in favour of maintaining a guard unit that is adequately staffed, equipped and trained to respond to the risks that the personnel in charge of the liquidation phase could face. We are counting on the support of the Malian Armed Forces in protecting the surroundings of the remaining UN infrastructure. This includes the safety of the guard unit.
Secondly, the implementation of the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement (APR) remains - more than ever - crucial and urgent. In this context, we are concerned by the intensification of tensions between the transitional government and the Coordination des Mouvements de l'Azawad (CMA), linked to the imminent withdrawal of MINUSMA. Nine years of work, dialogue and efforts towards national reconciliation are at stake - first and foremost for the Malian people, but also for the region and the entire international community. Switzerland shares the Secretary-General's analysis that confidence-building measures are essential to get the peace process back on track. We also stress that any violation of the ceasefire could hinder the resumption of the peace process. To support the International Mediation's efforts to implement the APR, the question arises of the need to set up a support mechanism - with adequate resources and, preferably, a permanent presence on site. Any consideration of this issue should be coordinated with the Malian authorities, the other signatories to the APR and the International Mediation.
Thirdly, discussions on the resumption of MINUSMA's multiple tasks must lead to concrete proposals by the end of the year. We call on all parties to do their utmost to reach an agreement. Some concrete suggestions have already been made by the Secretary-General. Switzerland supports, for example, the transfer of political tasks to UNOWAS, and is ready to contribute to the discussions on this subject. We also note that certain activities previously carried out by MINUSMA cannot be transferred, which will have consequences for the protection of civilians and the supply of humanitarian aid, among other things. We welcome all measures taken to minimize the impact of MINUSMA's withdrawal on the population and to better respond to humanitarian needs. We also note that none of the organizations mentioned in the report - including UNOWAS, the UN Country Team and OCHA - have adequate resources to take on additional tasks, and that budget adjustments would be necessary.
In conclusion, I would like to thank MINUSMA and all its staff, as well as the secretariat in New York, for their commitment and efforts since July 1 to ensure a safe and orderly withdrawal. The most important and difficult tasks still lie ahead. We call on all actors to cooperate with MINUSMA so that its withdrawal can be implemented according to plan and in complete safety and security. Finally, we hope that the Council can provide the necessary support and guidance in the continuation of this process, based on the Secretary-General's information on relevant developments.
I thank you.