France weighs UN sanctions regime for Mali

France already has its own 4,000-strong military presence in the Sahel, known as the Barkhane force (AFP Photo/STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN)

United Nations (United States) (AFP) - France is considering a UN Security Council draft resolution that would set up a sanctions regime for Mali to target opponents of a peace deal signed 19 months ago, the ambassador said Tuesday.

The peace accord signed in June 2015 between the Malian government and rebels ended years of fighting in the north, but its implementation has been piecemeal.

Mali regained control of the north after a French-led military intervention in January 2013 drove out jihadists, but insurgents remain active across large parts of the region.

French Ambassador Francois Delattre told reporters that a sanctions regime for Mali was a "very important" measure and that France was eager to discuss it at the council.

"The utmost priority with respect to Mali is to encourage the swift implementation of the peace agreement and to make sure the mission there, MINUSMA, has everything it needs," Delattre said.

In one of his last reports in late December, former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon called on the council to consider targeted sanctions against those who are impeding the peace deal.

"The peace process in Mali is at a critical juncture," Ban wrote.

While there has been some progress, "the signatory parties continue to disagree on key interim measures, thus stalling the process for all other provisions."

The Security Council will meet Wednesday to discuss the situation in Mali.

The proposed sanctions regime would set up a mechanism to allow individuals and entities to be blacklisted by the United Nations. Targeted sanctions include a global travel ban and an assets freeze.

The United Nations has deployed 13,000 troops in Mali to serve in the MINUSMA force, considered one of the deadliest missions in peacekeeping.

Ban said the force remains ill-equipped and urgently requires helicopter units, armored personnel carriers and armored cars for police among other resources.

Germany last week agreed to send more troops along with four transport helicopters and four combat helicopters.