Minister of Defense Jüri Luik (Isamaa) on Thursday participated remotely in a high-level UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting regarding the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), where, in his address, he stressed that more must be done to protect civilians in Mali.
During the discussion led by France, the current holder of the presidency of the UNSC, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and High Representative of the African Union for Mali and the Sahel Pierre Buyoya provided an overview of UN activities in Mali over the past three months. The meeting was attended by ministers from nine countries, including the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Belgium, according to a Ministry of Defense press release.
In his address, Luik stressed that more must be done to protect civilians within the deteriorating security situation in Mali, noting that the Malian government and security forces have a critical role to play in this, but it must also be supported by the MINUSMA peacekeeping mission.
"In order to ensure the protection of the civilian population and peacekeepers, the mobility and early warning of the UN peacekeeping mission MINSUMA, along with necessary training, must be further improved," he added.
Luik emphasized that respect for human rights is of the utmost importance when achieving peace.
"We must ensure that throughout the course of counterterrorism activities, international human rights and humanitarian law are fully respected and that their violations must be accompanied by punishments," he said.
The Estonian minister acknowledged the efforts of MINSUMA and the Malian government in supporting the implementation of the Mali Peace Agreement and emphasized that the peace agreement is the basis for finding a political solution to the conflict in Mali.
He also said that the involvement of society as a whole is extremely important in achieving peace, and cited the parliamentary elections in Mali as a positive example, as a result of which almost three times more women were elected than last time.
Thursday's meeting took place prior to the renewal of the mandate of the MINUSMA peacekeeping mission. Formal negotiations on the new draft mandate will begin next week.
Estonia is participating in the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA in Mali, the European Union training mission EUTM Mali, and the French-led Operation Barkhane, where its current contribution is slated to be increased in the near future.
Editor: Aili Vahtla