UNITED NATIONS, United States — The United Nations renewed its peacekeeping force in Mali for another year on Monday, without a reduction in personnel despite the US earlier questioning the mission's validity.
The UN Security Council voted unanimously to extend the mandate of MINUSMA until June 30, 2021.
Its renewal allows for the number of soldiers to continue to comprise of up to 13,289 soldiers and 1,920 police officers.
For more than a year, Washington – the largest financial contributor to the UN – has regularly questioned the mission, which costs US$1.2 billion annually, deeming it ill-suited to the ongoing violence in the west African nation.
The semi-arid country is struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency that erupted in 2012 and which has claimed thousands of military and civilian lives since.
Despite the presence of thousands of French and UN troops, the conflict has engulfed the center of the country and spread to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.
In June the US had requested that a plan be drawn up for the gradual ending of MINUSMA.
Earlier this month, Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the mission "remains crucial."
The renewal does commit to presenting a "possible exit strategy" for the mission by March 2021.
The resolution calls for the implementation of a 2015 peace agreement. — AFP