"Drawing lessons from the UN Mission in Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) to ensure the success of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)" was the subject of a conference organized by the Association for the United Nations.
On Monday October 21 2013, the Association for the United Nations (APNU) in cooperation with the United Nations Regional Information Centre (UNRIC) and supported by the International Press Centre (IPC) invited a man of action, who has a long experience in Peacekeeping Missions in Africa, to enlighten us on the multiple faceted Malian issue and answer to our questions: Mr Victor Da Silva Angelo, former Special Representative of the MINURCAT.
Mr Ibrahim Bocar Ba, Ambassador of Mali in Brussels, who was present at the event, contributed to enriching the discussion in the presence of a really attentive audience...
Mr Victor Angelo reminded the great influence that the regional context has on the situation in Mali. Nevertheless, the understanding of and the solution to the problems in Mali need, according to him, responses that go beyond the regional framework. "We cannot solve the problems (in Mali) without taking into account the problems in the region. But, we need regional as well as international responses to the existential problems", he explained to the audience.
Our speaker also gave an encouraging analysis of the current Malian situation.
Several indicators clearly show that Mali goes in the right direction. The 2013 presidential elections, the establishment of a new government and the creation of a Ministry for Reconciliation and Development of the Northern Region, the preparation of legislative and local elections under European Union observance, France's continued support to Mali's transition and recovery as well as the reiteration of UN engagement to MINUSMA's establishment and deployment are of those aspects that reinforce this perception.
While highlighting the ambitious mandate of the mission in Mali, Mr Angelo insisted on the necessity for the MINUSMA to be focused on the essential and be time-limited. "We must be clear about the goals we want to reach and define what situation we want to leave behind for the mission to be considered as over", he added.
He did not fail to recall the big challenges facing the MINUSMA, including the number of troops in the field lower than 50% than initially expected, the issue of certification by the UN for ECOWAS current troops as well as the lack of police advisers, military intelligence and Special Forces. Moreover, operational risks associated with the rebels' presence in the Region, the lack of connection with Malian armed forces, of police and gendarmerie reinforcement and training and of humanitarian aids for Mali remain.
The Ambassador of Mali, H.E. Mr Ibrahim Bocar Ba took part in the discussion and identified the different crises Mali is coming through: a rebellion crisis, a security crisis, a political crisis and a humanitarian crisis. He also emphasized the need and the efficiency of French intervention in Mali (Operation Serval) without which Mali could not cope with the rebels.
As a conclusion, Mr Victor Angelo reminded the audience about the necessity of a communication strategy projecting a positive image of Mali at the international level. However, Malian leaders hold the key to success in their hands. They have to have a clear direction and show concrete results in terms of governance and administration.
The Brussels based United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe - UNRIC provides information on UN activities to the countries of the region. It also provides liaison with institutions of the European Union in the field of information. Its outreach activities extend to all segments of society and joint campaigns, projects and events are organized with partners including the EU, governments, the media, NGOs, schools and local authorities.
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