USUN Ambassador Samantha Power Discusses Challenges with Malian Civil Society Leaders

On February 3 U.S. United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power met with Malian civil society activists.   Before their discussion, however, she read a statement and took questions from both local and international media.    In her remarks she strongly complimented Mali on its turnaround since the events of 2012 and noted that “today, there is new hope, new signs of democracy at work, and a new president who was elected with the highest voter turn-out in your country’s history.”  She added that Mali has much to build on, including its tradition of tolerance, mutual respect, and a love of peace.  She emphasized the essential role the press has to play as a critical check and balance on the government and a shaper of public opinion civic spirit. She also highlighted that civil society as a whole will play a critical role as well.  “All efforts on national reconciliation, decentralization, and dialogue have to include civil society and the Malian people must have their voices heard and their concerns addressed.”  She added that the UN Security Council’s visit to Mali reflected the world community’s interest in supporting the efforts of Mali’s government and society to recover from war, achieve reconciliation, and move ahead.  She reiterated that United States has been a strong supporter of the UN, AU, and French missions that have assisted these efforts and that it looks forward to a continued partnership with the people of Mali.  She concluded that this is the moment to build a new, brighter future for all the Malian people.