Liberia: UN condemns walkout at disarmament meeting

Liberia: UN condemns walkout at disarmament meeting

The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) today strongly condemned a walkout staged by various factional leaders at the first meeting of the country's National Commission for Disarmament, Demobilization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration.

The event was disrupted by people "claiming to represent" Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) and former members of the Liberian Government who collectively, the Mission said, "have put in jeopardy the future peace and stability of Liberia."

According to UNMIL, at the start of the meeting these representatives demanded "dozens of positions for themselves" in certain ministries as well as public corporations as a precondition for participating in the Commission's work.

The participants then walked out of the meeting, failing to adopt the disarmament scheme aimed at providing their combatants with monetary incentives, food, medical treatment, vocational training, educational opportunities and a "chance for a better future," UNMIL said. "Their actions demonstrate their total disregard for the welfare and well-being not only of their combatants, but of the 3.3 million citizens of Liberia whose interests they claim to represent and who have suffered 14 long years in purgatory hoping for a better future."

The Mission charged these representatives with "mortgaging the future of Liberia" for the sake of personal gain and self-aggrandizement.

At the same time, the UN said if those representatives wished to play a future role in Liberian politics, they should demonstrate their commitment to the peace process by unconditionally and immediately supporting the disarmament programme.