Koenders highest UN representative in Mali
The Stabilization Mission’s main task is to contribute to a peaceful and stable Mali. Mr Koenders will head a new type of mission, comprising over 11,000 military personnel and 1,440 police. Under his direction, the aim is to get peace negotiations off the ground, prepare for elections, protect the population and set up and implement a great many programmes relating to judicial reform, economic development and human rights.
Foreign minister Frans Timmermans was pleased by the appointment. ‘I hope that Bert Koenders can contribute importantly, through this post, to peace and security for people in Mali and the West African region. He will play a key role in the process of getting all parties on a line – a challenging but crucial task,’ he said. Development minister Lilianne Ploumen agreed. ‘Stability is an essential precondition for Mali’s development and for getting the region back on track. A government in which the population has confidence needs to be in place as soon as possible,’ she said.
Mr Koenders himself referred to the new mission as a huge challenge, given the extremely complex situation. ‘As a Dutchman I’m honoured to have been given this appointment by the Secretary-General. The mission is first and foremost important for the people of Mali and the Sahel region, but global, and therefore Dutch interests, are also at stake,’ he said.