Yesterday, Estonian Minister of Defence Jüri Luik participated via video-link in a high-level UN Security Council meeting on the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA, in Mali.
During the discussion led by France, current holder of the Presidency of the Security Council, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the High Representative of the African Union for Mali and the Sahel, Pierre Buyoya, gave an overview of UN activities in Mali over the past three months. The meeting was attended by ministers from nine countries, including the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Belgium.
In his address, Minister of Defence Luik noted that more must be done to protect civilians within the deteriorating security situation in Mali. The Malian Government and security forces have a critical role to play in this, but it must also be supported by the MINUSMA peacekeeping mission. ‘In order to ensure the protection of the civilian population and peacekeepers the mobility and early warning of the UN peacekeeping mission MINSUMA, along with necessary training, must be further improved,’ added Luik in his address.
Luik emphasised that respect for human rights is of the utmost importance when achieving peace. ‘We must ensure that throughout the course of counter-terrorism activities international human rights and humanitarian law are fully respected and that their violations must be accompanied by punishments’, said the Minister.
The Minister of Defence acknowledged the efforts of MINSUMA and the Malian Government to support the implementation of the Mali Peace Agreement and emphasized that the Peace Agreement is the basis for finding a political solution to the conflict in Mali.
In his speech, Luik said that the involvement of society as a whole is extremely important in achieving peace and cited the parliamentary elections in Mali as a positive example, as a result of which almost three times more women were elected than last time.
The meeting took place prior to the renewal of the mandate of the MINUSMA peacekeeping mission. Formal negotiations on the new draft mandate will begin the week of 15 June.
Estonia is participating in the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA in Mali, the European Union training mission EUTM Mali, and the French-led operation Barkhane, where the present contribution will be increased in the near future. The fight against terrorism, including its root causes, is important for Estonia and this requires a joint effort by countries, so that an aggravation of problems does not have negative consequences for the region itself or for Europe.
Further information: press[at]kaitseministeerium[dot]ee