REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, NEW YORK -- Every day lost in the implementation of Mali's peace agreement is a day gained for extremist and terrorist groups that have bet heavily on the failure of the process, the UN peacekeeping chief said here Tuesday.
Herve Ladsous, the UN under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations, stressed that the Malian government and the armed groups who signed the deal must establish a timeline to resolve all pending issues.
When briefing the UN Security Council on the current situation in Mali, Ladsous reported significant progress in recent weeks toward implementing the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation, including steps toward establishing interim administrative arrangements in north Mali and the creation of two new regions -- Taoudenni and Menaka.
This came on the heels of a Jan. 18 meeting in Algiers, Algeria, of the Agreement Monitoring Committee, and a meeting convened by President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on Feb. 27 in Bamako, Mali, where the parties to the peace agreement had set an implementation timetable for March and April.
The senior UN official said other positive developments, including that on March 31, the Malian National Assembly adopted the Law amending the code of local authorities which was followed by the adoption of a decree on the modalities of implementation of the interim authorities in local authorities.
"This is a decisive step that should be welcomed," he said. "It is now up to the parties to implement this law in the shortest possible time."
Ladsous also drew the 15-nation UN council's attention to the creation of national commissions on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, as well as the construction of cantonment sites.
In light of the security situation in the north, he warned "progress on defence and security issues is too slow," urging the Malian government and signatory armed groups to move forward on the Operational Coordination Mechanism that would be responsible for establishing mixed patrols and protecting cantonment sites.
Ladsous warned that delays in implementation would have an impact on intercommunal conflicts, particularly in the Gao and Mopti regions, with alarming consequences for civilians.
He paid tribute to Guinean peacekeepers and members of Mali's defence and security forces killed in repeated confrontations with the Al Mourabitoun and Ansar Eddine movements, as well as other victims of terrorist attacks.
Turning to the security situation, Ladsous saluted the efforts of Malian security forces to counter the influence of terrorist groups, in cooperation with neighbouring states and Operation Barkhane.
The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) was stepping up its own security measures, he said, emphasizing the latent threat posed by terrorist and organized crime groups in a time of change for UN peacekeeping in West Africa, as well as the need for reinforced cooperation with the African Union, among others, on intelligence and border security.
Meanwhile, Ladsous announced a strategic review of MINUSMA by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations ahead of the Secretary-General's next report, in late May, a month before the Mission's mandate was due to expire.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council both called for speedy implementation of Mali's peace agreement, which was signed last year, and acceleration of the country's reconciliation process.
Mali had witnessed a military coup, renewed fighting between government forces and Tuareg rebels, and the seizure of its northern territory by radical Islamists since early 2012.
The West African country is now in the process of restoring democracy with the help of the United Nations and African regional bodies, including the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).