The Government of Mali and the signatory and adherent armed groups of the Ouagadougou Preliminary Agreement must resume without delay the inter-Malian negotiation process in Algiers, the 15-member body urged in a Presidential Statement approved this morning.“The parties have a responsibility to the Malian people and the international community to reach a durable peace agreement,” the Security Council stressed, calling on all actors who have influence on the Malian leaders to urge them “to negotiate seriously and in good faith.” “The Security Council urges the parties to seize the historic opportunity offered by the inter-Malian negotiation process in Algiers, in which all neighbouring countries and relevant regional and international partners are involved, to support lasting peace in Mali,” the Council said. In the meantime, those involved in the Malian conflict must “refrain from any action, whether direct or conducted through proxies, that jeopardizes prospects for peace,” the Council stressed, emphasizing that it would consider appropriate measures, including targeted sanctions, against those who resume hostilities and violate the ceasefire. Underscoring that only a comprehensive peace agreement can bring lasting security to Mali, the Council deplored the continued violence in the north of the country and demanded all parties respect the ceasefire agreed to on 23 May 2014, as well as the declaration of the Cessation of Hostilities signed in Algiers on 24 July 2014. The Security Council emphasized that the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Mali, Mongi Hamdi, and the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA) should play a leading role, in conjunction with the other members of the international mediation team, to oversee implementation of a peace deal, of which primary responsibility rests with the Malian parties. The Council acknowledged the sacrifices of MINUSMA’s troops and condemned all attacks against its peacekeepers. Such attacks may constitute war crimes under international law, the Council noted, calling on MINUSMA to implement its mandate using all necessary means within its capabilities, including preventing the return of armed factions, protecting civilians, and responding to attacks against its personnel.“The Security Council welcomes the decision of the Secretary-General to launch an independent inquiry to determine the facts surrounding the tragic incidents that took place on 27 January 2015 during a violent demonstration in front of the MINUSMA base in Gao, in the North of Mali, and the reported death of at least 3 protesters,” the statement said.Drawing on lessons from the previous peace agreements, which did not achieve a durable peace in Mali, the Council urged Malian parties – and called on the members of the international mediation team – in Algiers to devise “concrete oversight mechanisms that will ensure the full, faithful and immediate implementation of a future comprehensive and inclusive peace agreement.”In addition, the provisions relating to the participation of women, sexual violence and child protection must be taken into account during the on-going negotiations and any possible outcome. The Government in Mali has been seeking to restore stability and rebuild following a series of setbacks since early 2012, including a military coup d’état, renewed fighting between Government forces and Tuareg rebels, and the seizure of its northern territory by radical Islamists. Throughout much of this time, Mali’s north has remained restive and, in recent months, MINUSMA and its “blue helmets” have come under repeated violent attack. read more