Mali will suspend from Thursday all new rotations of the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA, including those already planned, for “national security” reasons, the foreign ministry said.
The suspension will last until a meeting is held to “facilitate the coordination and regulation” of contingent rotation, he said in a statement.
The announcement came four days after Malian authorities arrested 49 Ivorian soldiers who they later described as “mercenaries” intent on overthrowing the country’s military-led government.
Ivory Coast says the soldiers were so-called National Support Elements (NSE) – a UN procedure allowing contingents in peacekeeping missions to bring in outside contractors for tasks logistics.
The soldiers, who were arrested after arriving at Bamako airport on a special flight, were the fifth rotation under this program, according to the Ivory Coast.
The statement from the Malian Foreign Ministry does not refer to the arrest of the Ivorians.
He gave no date for the meeting to discuss MINUSMA rotations.
However, he assured the UN mission that Mali “would work diligently to create the conditions conducive to the lifting of this suspension of rotation, which is an essential step to allow the contingents deployed to ensure the proper execution of the mandate of the Minusma”.