On 30 June 2023, the UN Security Council decided to withdraw the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA from Mali by the end of the year, at the request of the Malian transition government. Now the Council has met again to discuss the progress made so far as well as the challenges of the withdrawal. The pullout raises the question of how certain important tasks of the mission can be continued as well as how its achievements can be maintained. These include the existing peace agreement and the protection of the civilian population. Since 2012, a security, socio-economic and humanitarian crisis has been steadily intensifying in Mali. Especially in the north and centre of the country, there are almost daily attacks against the civilian population, the Malian security forces or confrontations between armed groups, sometimes with a jihadist background. In June 2015, movements from the north and the Malian government signed a peace agreement in Algiers, whose implementation is being accompanied by MINUSMA, an engagement that is now coming to a close.

The Council meeting focused on ensuring an orderly withdrawal of MINUSMA and the uncertain future of Mali as of January 2024. Accordingly, Switzerland stressed in its statement that the implementation of the peace agreement and confidence-building measures are central. "Nine years of work, dialogue and efforts towards national reconciliation are at stake – first and foremost for the Malian people, but also for the entire Sahel region," underlined Adrian Hauri, Switzerland's deputy head of mission at the UN in New York.

Switzerland also stressed the importance of MINUSMA's important tasks being adequately continued by the Malian transition government and other regional actors. To this end, in-depth and inclusive talks are necessary so that concrete and implementable proposals for solutions are available by the end of the year. In its role in the Security Council as co-penholder for the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) – which also covers Mali – Switzerland is ready to actively support this process. "We welcome all the measures that have already been taken to cushion the impact of MINUSMA's withdrawal on the civilian population and to better meet humanitarian needs," Ambassador Hauri said. The challenges are and remain extremely complex so close cooperation of all relevant actors with the UN and MINUSMA is central. On the one hand, to ensure the scheduled withdrawal of the mission and, on the other, to guarantee the security of MINUSMA personnel stationed in Mali until the withdrawal is complete.