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Vote on future of UN mission in Mali postponed until Friday

UN peace keepers secure a section of the airport on August 12, 2014 ...   -  
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The Security Council vote on Mali's request to end the UN mission in the country (Minusma) has been postponed from Thursday to Friday, due to ongoing discussions, diplomatic sources said on Tuesday.

On June 16, taking everyone by surprise, Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop had demanded the "immediate withdrawal" of Minusma, denouncing its "failure".

While the consent of the host state is one of the principles of peacekeeping, the draft resolution proposed by France, which is at the forefront of the Malian dossier at the Security Council, proposes to end the mission, while allowing a period of six months for the withdrawal of the more than 12,000 soldiers and police deployed, according to diplomatic sources.

But due to ongoing discussions between Council members, the UN, and Mali, the vote scheduled for Thursday has been postponed until Friday, the last day of Minusma's current mandate, according to one of the diplomatic sources.

Another diplomatic source told AFP that Mali had asked for the six-month period to be shortened.

A shorter period would raise the question of the practical conditions of the withdrawal.

"Moving thousands of peacekeepers, along with their equipment, facilities, and support staff, takes time", Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, said on Monday, calling for a "reasonable timetable".

The United States, which regretted Mali's decision, called for an "orderly and responsible withdrawal".

Immediately after the Malian minister's statements, the head of Minusma, El Ghassim Wane, declared that the continuation of the mission, created in 2013 to help stabilize this state threatened with collapse under jihadist pressure and to protect civilians, had become "almost impossible".

Relations between Bamako and Minusma have largely deteriorated since the military came to power in 2020.

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