Mali’s top diplomat demanded Friday that U.N. peacekeepers who have been in this West African country grappling with an Islamic insurgency for more than a decade leave immediately, claiming they had failed in their mission.
Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop made the request in a speech to the United Nations Security Council. He said the U.N. mission had not achieved its objectives and was sowing distrust among the people.
Mali has struggled to contain an Islamic extremist insurgency since 2012. Extremist rebels were forced from power in Mali’s northern cities the following year, with the help of a French-led military operation, but they regrouped in the desert and began launching attacks on the Malian army and its allies.
The U.N. peacekeepers — a contingent of more than 15,000 — came in a few months later in what has become one of the most dangerous U.N. missions in the world. At least 170 peacekeepers have been killed in the country since 2013, according to the U.N.
“The Malian government asks for the withdrawal without delay” of the peacekeepers, Diop said in his speech at the council. He said the mission has not “been able to adequately respond to the security situation in Mali” and that its “future outlook doesn’t seem to respond to the security needs” of the Malians.