27 September 2014 – Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, whose country the United Nations helped stabilize after a series of coups and sectarian fighting, mounted the General Assembly’s podium today to call on the world Organization to take a concerted global approach to all his region’s problems.
“The political and security crises that affected in Mali in 2010 have clearly shown the complex challenges facing all the (sub-Saharan) Sahel countries on issues of security, governance, the protection of human rights and development,” the West African leader told the Assembly on the fourth day of its 69th annual high-level meeting.
“These challenges demand concerted and determined action from the international community. They must be addressed globally with specific mechanisms,” he said, hailing the adoption of the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel.
“We are gathered here in the name of a universal ideal and conscience for peace, justice and liberty. Millions of people worldwide had put their hopes in the UN for peace, security, development and international solidarity. We do not have the right to disappoint them.”
Mr. Keita cited terrorism as one of the challenges requiring a global response. “Terrorist attacks perpetrated in Libya, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Tunisia and the Middle East, although geographically disparate, in reality constitute grave self-same threats to international peace and security,” he said, stressing that religious extremism is completely foreign to Malian society.
The UN currently fields the 6,000-strong UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the country (MINUSMA), a force of military personnel and police officers set up in 2013 after a Tuareg separatist movement and Islamic armed groups seized much of northern Mali and a mutiny in Bamako, the capital, led to a coup.
Mr. Keita reported that the process of stabilization and dialogue was now fully under way in his country.
On other issues, he stressed that the Ebola epidemic sweeping West African countries demanded an integrated international response and called for reform and enlargement of the 15-member Security Council, the UN’s decision-making body, to include two permanent and five non-permanent members from Africa.