UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday paving the way for sanctions against those in Mali who obstruct a 2015 peace agreement by continuing attacks or delaying its implementation.
The French-sponsored resolution also authorizes sanctions against those who obstruct the delivery of humanitarian aid and plan or commit acts that violate international human rights or humanitarian law.
It establishes a sanctions committee comprising all 15 council members to designate the individuals and entities that should be put on the sanctions blacklist.
France's U.N. ambassador, Francois Delattre, told the council after the vote that the resolution "sends a very strong dissuasive message" to those still fighting and impeding peace to change their behavior.
A 2012 uprising prompted mutinous soldiers to overthrow Mali's president of a decade. The power vacuum that was created ultimately led to an Islamic insurgency and a French-led war that ousted the jihadists from power in 2013. But insurgents remain active in the region.
The resolution deplores the slow progress in implementing the peace agreement and condemns the repeated violations of cease-fire arrangements and activities in Mali and the neighboring Sahel region of "terrorist organizations."
It also strongly condemns continuing attacks on civilians, Malian forces, the U.N. peacekeeping mission known as MINUSMA, and French troops fighting the terrorists.
MINUSMA is the deadliest U.N. peacekeeping mission in the world. The resolution was adopted on a day that two peacekeepers were killed and two others seriously injured when a U.N. convoy hit a mine in the northern Kidal region.
"Time is not on our side and the peace agreement in Mali is one of the keys to stabilization of the regional situation in the Sahel," Delattre said.
He said the resolution's unanimous adoption shows the council's strong determination "to use every means available to it to help Mali towards peace and stability and to encourage significant progress in implementation of the peace agreement in weeks to come."
"Anyone who impedes this process needs to realize that this Security Council will no longer tolerate their action," Delattre said.