Mali challenges France's penholder status at UNSC
Mali will no longer accept French interference to draft resolutions and declarations regarding the Republic of Mali within the UNSC.
The system of continuous leadership by the UNSC member states on specific issues was developed around 2008-2009 with the "leaders" called "penholders," according to a December 2018 UNSC report. One of these issues was the situation in Mali.
The Malian government declared on March 1 in a letter to Pedro Comissario Alfonso, president of the Security Council and Ambassador of Mozambique to the UN that France no longer has the power to draft resolutions and declarations regarding the Republic of Mali within the UNSC (UNSC).
"Pending the special meeting of the Security Council requested by Mali, the government of the Republic of Mali […] officially challenges France's penholder status on all questions examined by the Security Council concerning Mali," reads the letter.
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Since December 2012, France has been responsible for producing all the drafts in the UN Security Council concerning Mali. However, Mali complained to the Security Council in August 2022 about acts of aggression, subversion, destabilization and violation of Malian airspace by aircraft of the French armed forces.
"These facts [...] raise questions about the objectivity and impartiality of the French Republic," notes the letter.
The presence of French troops in Mali was established in 2013 under the pretext of countering terrorist activities in the Sahel region, after the 2011 intervention in Libya by NATO forces. The country achieved full independence after French troops withdrew from its country on August 15, 2022 following pressure from the Malian government.
Bamako terminated its bilateral defense agreements with France earlier that year, accusing its former metropole of "a de-facto partition of the West African country."
"The intervention [of France] turned into a de-facto partition of Mali, which contributed to the sanctuarisation of our territories for the terrorists who had time to take refuge and reorganize themselves in order to come back in force," Malian Prime Minister Choguel Kokalla Maiga said, speaking to diplomats in Bamako, Mali.
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Earlier last month, Malian transitional Prime Minister, Choguel Kokalla Maiga revealed that Mali expects to present to the UN Security Council evidence of France's support for armed groups.
"The day we reveal the evidence, we will see who is muddying the waters. All those who do not want us to provide evidence understand that the accusations against us have no basis," Maiga underlined.
According to the Malian Prime Minister, Mali will keep this evidence to itself for as long as it deems it necessary.
It is noteworthy that in mid-October, during a speech delivered at a United Nations Security Council briefing on Mali in New York, Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop accused France of violating Malian airspace and delivering weapons to militants that have been crippling the country for the past decade, which France denied.