As delivered by Gerard van Bohemen, Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations, June 29, 2016.

New Zealand welcomes today’s unanimous adoption of Resolution 2295 and thanks the French delegation in particular for the continuing leadership it has shown on Mali, in close consultation with the African members of the Council.   We support a mandate for MINUSMA that enables troops to take robust action to defend themselves and protect civilians in a security environment characterised by asymmetric threats. The losses taken by MINUSMA over the past year have already been graphically referred to by others. We agree that troops should be enabled to undertake “proactive defence” by taking action to address threats to civilians and UN personnel in their area of operation.

 We pay tribute to the high number of peacekeepers who have risked their lives – and in all too many cases, lost their lives in Mali. We continue to be concerned at the lack of key capabilities of the mission to enable it to effectively carry out its mandate. We support the intent to send a clear message about how we expect the mandate to be carried out.

We wish to reiterate New Zealand’s view that that this mandate clarifies MINUSMA’s mandate and does not broaden the Mission’s authorisation, specifically by granting any ability to engage pre-emptively in counter-terrorism activities.

Mr President, in our view the mandate was not really the problem that needed addressing in this case. The powers of MINUSMA are clearly stated in operative paragraph 17. The words “all necessary means” should mean what they say. Adding complicated language around complex operational issues such as force posture risks exacerbating the problem of less clear mandates, and may raise unhelpful implications for other mandates.  As noted in the High-level Independent Panel on Peacekeeping Operations, United Nations missions currently have significant shortcomings that make them poorly suited to such roles. Mandating such tasks in any mission would require a much greater degree of consideration and discussion in the Council.

We welcome the inclusive approach taken in the lead up to the adoption of this important resolution. In particular welcome the engagement with troop-contributing countries and the opportunity to discuss the situation in Mali with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister in the informal interactive dialogue with the Security Council on 16 June.