As part of celebrations marking Chinese Army Day, a senior United Nations official in Liberia has paid tribute to the “commitment and dedication” of Chinese peacekeepers working in the war-ravaged West African country.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Deputy Special Representative, Souren Seraydarian, made his comments on Sunday in the remote town of Zwedru at a ceremony that also featured the participation of ministers from the National Transitional Government of Liberia. The area hosts two Chinese detachments: a hospital unit and an engineering company doing major road and infrastructure work.
“You are assisting one of the poorest States in the world back onto its feet after years of war have left the country in an appalling state of disrepair,” said Mr. Seraydarian. He praised the units for contributing to the peace efforts in Liberia “in the most direct and effective way possible – on the ground, in the field.”
The Chinese contingent in the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) includes a 275- strong Engineering Company and a Transport Company with over 240 soldiers. The hospital in Zwedru is staffed by a 43-member team that provides medical care to both peacekeepers and the local population. China has also contributed military observers and civilian police personnel to UNMIL.