The UN Security Council on Friday voted to end a decade-old peacekeeping mission to Mali, whose military junta urged the troops’ removal as it aligns with Russia.
The Security Council voted unanimously on a resolution that will immediately start winding down the Minusma mission, started in 2013 to prevent a jihadist takeover.
The vote came two weeks after Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop stunned the Security Council by calling the UN mission a “failure” and urging its immediate end.
Mali’s relations with the United Nations have deteriorated sharply since a 2020 coup brought to power a military regime which also severed defense cooperation with France, the former colonial power.
The junta has aligned itself with Russia and brought in the Wagner Group, the ruthless mercenaries involved in a mutiny against President Vladimir Putin last week.
“We deeply regret the transitional government’s decision to abandon Minusma and the harm this will bring to the Malian people,” senior US diplomat Jeffrey DeLaurentis told the Security Council.
But he said that the United States voted for the resolution as it agreed with the timeline for withdrawal.
Under longstanding UN practice, a peacekeeping mission needs the approval of the host country.