UN chief calls for speedy and smooth withdrawal from Mali


The UN peacekeeping chief has urged the mission in Mali to speedily transfer tasks to authorities and partners for a safe withdrawal from the country, a UN spokesman said on Monday.

“Jean-Pierre Lacroix has concluded his visit to the country, after a series of meetings with senior officials from the transitional government, including Prime Minister Choguel Kokalla Maiga,” said Stephane Dujarric, chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, at the end of Lacroix’s two-day visit.

Dujarric said Lacroix discussed lessons learned during the first phase of the mission’s withdrawal, expected to be completed by month’s end.

Last week, members of the mission, known as MINUSMA, pulled back from a few of their smaller bases in the northern Timbuktu region, peacekeepers reported.

The target is for the entire mission to be out of the country by Dec. 31, following a June UN Security Council resolution honoring Bamoko’s request for the mission’s standdown.

Dujarric said Lacroix thanked authorities for their cooperation, adding that it “is critical to ensuring a safe and orderly withdrawal in a tight timeframe and challenging environment.” The peacekeeping chief urged continued progress on the transfer of tasks from the mission not only to the Malian authorities but also to the UN country team and other partners.

The Security Council mandated MINUSMA in 2013, which has proved to be one of the deadliest UN missions, with more than 300 peacekeepers killed in the line of duty as of June 30 this year.

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