On Monday, the United Nations Security Council has unanimously voted to extend the mandate of its seven-year peacekeeping force in Mali for another 12 months without any cuts in personnel.
The renewed mission, known as MINUSMA, allows for the number of its members to continue to comprise up to 13,289 soldiers and 1,920 police officers.
Analysts say that the expected move signifies a temporary truce between the United States and France, both permanent Security Council members and veto-power holders.
The United States – the UN’s biggest financial contributor – has regularly questioned the mission for more than a year, which costs $1.2bn annually, deeming it ill-suited to the continuing violence in the West African nation.
Meanwhile, France, which has taken the most active military role of any foreign power in its former colony, sees MINUSMA as an essential component of a broad coalition of forces currently attempting to root out armed groups.
The Security Council asked Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to coordinate with others on a long-term road map assessing the situation in Mali focused on producing benchmarks and conditions, including progress in implementing the peace agreement.
The council said the map expected by March 31, 2021, would open the way for the mission to exit Mali without jeopardizing its security.
In recent weeks, there are growing concerns about instability in recent weeks after thousands of people took to the streets for the second time in a month to demand President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita step down. Keita, in the middle of his second five-year mandate after a 2018 election.
Besides the relentless security crisis across the north of the country. Mali has struggled with corruption and cronyism, weak public services and national leadership, electoral malpractice and the government’s inability to bring an end to inter-communal and terrorist violence have fuelled popular frustration.