On Friday 16th June, Mali’s Foreign Minister, Abdoulaye Diop, told the UN Security Council, that its 13,000-strong stabilization mission (MINUSMA) should leave without delay. MINUSMA has tried to stabilize Mali for a decade, but Diop’s demand comes after a long period of increasingly difficult relations between the country’s junta and the UN. The junta has restricted access, curtailed mobility, and suspended rotations of UN peacekeepers making it even more difficult for the mission to fulfill its complex mandate, often in hostile terrain. It seems clear that MINUSMA must react, but how the UN Security Council decides to respond to the junta’s ultimatum will have broader and longer-term implications than the future of MINUSMA: the UN Security Council’s power and credibility are at stake and so are the future conditions for UN peacekeeping.
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