Mali to halt all new UN peacekeeping rotations
Mali's government said on Thursday it was suspending UN peacekeeping rotations, MINUSMA, days after 49 Ivorian soldiers were arrested for having the intention to topple the government.
Mali said Thursday that for "national security" reasons, rotations of the UN's peacekeeping mission will be suspended, in the most recent complication in relations between the ruling junta and international partners.
Rotations of the MINUSMA mission are being suspended, including those already scheduled, the foreign ministry in Bamako said.
In a statement, the ministry added that the suspension will last until a meeting is held to "facilitate the coordination and regulation" of the rotation of contingents.
The announcement did not clarify the reasons for the move that came four days after Mali arrested 49 Ivorian soldiers it described as "mercenaries" having the intention to overthrow the country's military-led government.
The soldiers are National Support Elements (NSE), a UN procedure allowing peacekeeping contingents to use outside contractors for logistical duties. They were arrested after arriving at Bamako airport aboard a special flight, and they comprised the eighth rotation under this scheme, according to Ivory Coast.
Today's statement by Mali did not refer to their arrest or give a date for talks to discuss MINUSMA rotations, but it assured the UN mission that Mali would "work diligently to create conditions conducive to the lifting of this suspension of rotation, which is an essential step in enabling the deployed contingents to ensure the proper implementation of MINUSMA's mandate."
ECOWAS lifts sanctions on Mali
West African leaders meeting in Ghana on the third of July within the framework of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) announced lifting the trade and financial sanctions on Mali.
The West African bloc had imposed sanctions on Mali over the coup that took place last year despite the military junta pledging to return to civilian rule following reforms.
ECOWAS said it accepted Bamako's March 2024 date for a return to civilian rule.
"It's done!" one participant at the summit of the West African bloc ECOWAS told AFP. "We have decided to lift economic and financial sanctions against Mali."