Switzerland thanks France for its efforts and the resolution on the withdrawal of MINUSMA from Mali.
Switzerland recognizes and respects the decision of the Malian authorities to request the immediate withdrawal of MINUSMA. We regret that it has come to this point. The decision seems hasty to us, and the conditions for an immediate withdrawal are inadequate. The situation in Mali continues to threaten international peace and security.
Switzerland would have liked to see a more gradual transition period, taking account of conditions on the ground. In a spirit of compromise and consensus, we voted in favor of the resolution submitted to us. Nevertheless, we would like to make the following points to clarify our position:
We are concerned about the future of the people of Mali. The withdrawal of MINUSMA will have a direct impact on them, and this is of concern to a wide range of actors active in the field of civilian protection. It is first and foremost the responsibility of the Malian state to protect its population. We therefore count on the authorities to take appropriate steps to protect the civilian population - without discrimination - at every stage of the mission's withdrawal and beyond, and to engage in dialogue with the parties. We also call on all parties to respect their obligations in accordance with human rights and international humanitarian law.
The modalities and duration of the withdrawal are of particular importance to Switzerland. We take note of the reasons that have led to the objective of a withdrawal in such a short time. Nevertheless, we reiterate that from a logistical point of view, six months is not sufficient for the responsible withdrawal of a peacekeeping operation the size of MINUSMA. This withdrawal must take place in an orderly and safe manner. The lessons of other transitions and the recommendations of Security Council Resolution 2594 should provide guidance. We therefore call on the Malian authorities to work closely with MINUSMA and to respect the Status of Forces Agreement until the last MINUSMA personnel have been able to leave Mali. This also means that permission to import the equipment needed for the mission's departure, such as fuel, must be provided as soon as possible. The security of civilian and uniformed personnel must be guaranteed at all times.
The Peace and Reconciliation Agreement remains a crucial instrument for peace, stability and development in Mali. Switzerland therefore calls on all parties to resume dialogue and respect their obligations under the Agreement. At the same time, it is important that the Secretary-General proposes concrete measures to ensure the continuity of the tasks currently covered by MINUSMA as part of the implementation of the Agreement. It is essential to preserve the gains of recent years and to resume diligent implementation of the APR. This is also in the interests of stability and security throughout the region.
MINUSMA has made an important contribution to peace and security in Mali and the region. Switzerland offers its sincere condolences to the families and troop-contributing countries who have suffered casualties. It reiterates its full support for MINUSMA and all its personnel, who have worked tirelessly since the Mission began. We are grateful for their commitment.
I thank you.