The United States (US) has called for an orderly and responsible withdrawal of United Nations (UN) peacekeeping forces after Mali’s ruling military junta asked the peacekeeping force to leave the country, reported Reuters.
On Friday, Mali’s Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop called for the immediate withdrawal of the multinational force from the nation without any delay. He accused the UN peacekeeping force of having become a part of the problem in fuelling intercommunal tensions.
“The United States regrets the transition government of Mali’s decision to revoke its consent for MinusmaINUSMA,” said the US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller.
He added that Washington is concerned about the effects that the withdrawal will have on the security and humanitarian crises looming over the people of Mali.
The West African country has faced an insurgency since 2012. The U.N. peacekeeping mission was deployed in 2013 to support foreign and local efforts to restore stability but the instability continues.
The Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, or MINUSMA, consists of over 13,000 troops including military contingents from Chad, Bangladesh, and Egypt, which are the biggest contributors to the force.
Frustrations among the public over the growing insecurity resulted in two coups in Mali in 2020 and 2021. Furthermore, Mali’s ruling military junta has also turned to Russia for military assistance, showing a back to MINUSMA and other international allies including France. Western governments are disappointed about the presence of troops from the Russia-based private military contractor Wagner.
The US State Department spokesman Miller said Washington will continue to work with its partners in West Africa to help Mali tackle the urgent security and governance challenges.
He also said his government welcomes further consultations with regional leaders on additional steps to promote stability and prevent conflict.
Notably, the UN Security Council members had begun to discuss a draft resolution to extend MINUSMA’s mandate, which expires on June 30. But, the fate of the mission currently remains unclear.