WASHINGTON (CN) – Aiming to calm a situation that has developed into the most dangerous peacekeeping mission in United Nations history, the Trump administration on Friday announced plans to sanction people and groups impeding the peace process in Mali.
The executive order does not name specific individuals or groups that could be the targets of sanctions, but freezes out of U.S. markets anyone who obstructs humanitarian assistance efforts, attacks peacekeeping forces and otherwise obstructs peace in the country. The order also bars such people from traveling to the United States.
The order does not immediately hit any group or person with sanctions, but it authorizes the Treasury Department to impose the sanctions after consultation with the State Department. A senior administration official said the order is meant to up international pressure and put people and groups contributing to violence in the African country “on notice.”
“The international community is watching and will not hesitate to impose costs if this activity persists,” the senior administration official said Friday.
The U.N. peacekeeping mission has been underway in Mali since 2013, as the country plunged into violence after rebel forces took control of the northern part of the country in 2012. Terrorist and militant groups have continued to carry out attacks in the country, even after a 2015 peace agreement.
The fighting has displaced more than 430,000 people, according to a report from the U.N., with more than 139,000 refugees from the country as of March 31.
To date, 195 people working with the U.N. peacekeeping mission have died in the ongoing fighting, according to the United Nations.