Liberia: Annan still waiting for government's response to new mandate for UN office

Liberia: Annan still waiting for government's response to new mandate for UN office

After submitting a revised mandate for the United Nations Peace-building Support Office in Liberia (UNOL), Secretary-General Kofi Annan says that he is still waiting to hear from Freetown about the proposed changes.

In a letter to the President of the Security Council released today at UN Headquarters in New York, the Secretary-General says the Government of Liberia's initial reaction to his proposal was that the text was being carefully studied and that its response would be conveyed soon.

Last November, the Council asked the Secretary-General to make recommendations concerning the mandate of UNOL as part of its comprehensive strategy for dealing with the situation in Liberia. The 15-nation body suggested that the Office work to offer assistance to the Liberian authorities and to the public for strengthening democratic institutions and the rule of law, contribute to and monitor the preparation of free and fair elections in 2003, and enhance and monitor respect for human rights in Liberia.

The Council also proposed that UNOL promote national reconciliation and resolution of the conflict, support the Government of Liberia in the implementation of peace agreements to be adopted, and engage in an educational campaign to present accurately UN policies and activities regarding Liberia.

"These changes to the mandate of UNOL should increase its capacity for objective reporting on the situation in Liberia," the Council President said in a letter to the Secretary-General, who had proposed extending the Office's mandate for an additional year until 31 December 2003.