France seeks UN sanctions regime for Mali

2017-09-02 13:30
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New York - France is asking the UN Security Council to set up a sanctions regime for Mali to punish opponents of the 2015 peace deal as fears grow that the west African country is sliding back into turmoil, according to a draft resolution obtained by AFP on Friday.

The move is backed by Mali's government which told the council in a letter last month that repeated violations of a ceasefire since the beginning of June were threatening to derail the peace deal.

The French-drafted resolution presented last month would set up a sanctions committee made up of all Security Council members who would designate individuals and entities to be blacklisted by the United Nations.

Those who are blacklisted would be subject to a global travel ban and an assets freeze.

It was unclear when the proposal would come up for a vote at the Security Council.

Mali's government and coalitions of armed groups signed a peace deal in June 2015 to end years of fighting in the north that culminated with a takeover of the territory by jihadists in 2012.

A French-led military intervention in January 2013 drove out the Islamists, but insurgents remain active, moving to the center where attacks and trafficking of drugs and weapons are on the rise.

Mali and four neighboring countries - Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania and Niger - are working to set up a counter-terrorism force to fight jihadists in the Sahel, which France has warned could become a haven for extremists.

In the latest attack to shake the region, gunmen opened fire on a restaurant in the Burkina Faso capital of Ouagadougou on August 14, killing 19 people including several foreigners who were dining on a terrace.

The UN peacekeeping force in Mali has come under repeated attacks by insurgents and is now known as the world's most dangerous UN mission.

Four armed groups active in Mali are already on the UN sanctions blacklist for their ties to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS): Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the MUJAO Islamist movement, Al-Mourabitoun and the Ansar Eddine group along with its leader Iyad Ag Ghali.

The measure would also set up a panel of experts tasked with monitoring compliance with the sanctions and reporting to the council on violations.

The sanctions regime would have a one-year mandate.

Read more on:    un  |  france  |  mali  |  west africa

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