The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) today praised the decision of the losing party to halt its challenge of the results of last month’s run-off presidential elections - the culmination of efforts to move the West African nation toward peace and democracy after 14 years of civil war.
Last week Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged supporters of losing candidate George Weah to use legal channels, not violence, to state their case after protests by members of his party, the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), turned violent in the capital of Monrovia. The disturbances occurred after the results of the 8 November run-off presidential election showed Mr. Weah’s opponent, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of the United Party, had gained a majority with 59.4 per cent of the valid vote.
In a statement issued Wednesday, UNMIL said it was encouraged by CDC’s intention to work with all Liberians as well as the nation’s international friends and partners to achieve a durable peace, security, stability and national recovery. The party’s “intention to remain a potent political force in bringing about real democracy and championing the cause of all Liberians should be supported by all who wish the country well,” he added.
The head of UNMIL, Special Representative of the Secretary-General Alan Doss, met with Liberia’s newly elected and certified legislators today after returning from UN headquarters in New York, where he briefed the Security Council on the country’s latest developments. Mr. Doss told legislators that the Council recognized the new administration’s huge challenges and the UN would keep backing the country’s process of national reconstruction.
Quoting former U.S. president Abraham Lincoln, he said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand. For too long, the house of Liberia has been divided and as a result, it has not stood. Now is the time for all of you to stand up, to make this country what it can and – I’m sure – will be.”
In its statement, the UN peacekeeping mission said it looked forward to cooperating with Mr. Weah and the CDC in all their initiatives aimed at improving the lives of the Liberian people.