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Ban Ki-moon urges donors to help Liberia continue path toward stability

Ban Ki-moon urges donors to help Liberia continue path toward stability

Drawing on his own firsthand experience growing up in the war-torn Republic of Korea, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said that Liberians, who are working to consolidate peace and democracy from the ashes of a devastating 14-year civil war, should look ahead to a brighter future with the assistance of the international community.

“Liberia is fast emerging as a pillar of stability in the region,” Mr. Ban said in a statement delivered in Washington, D.C. by his Special Representative for Liberia, Alan Doss, at the Liberia Partners’ Forum, a high-level donors’ conference.

At the same time, he cautioned that to succeed, Liberia’s Government and citizens “must be able to count on the continuing and collective support of the international community.”

Mr. Ban applauded several of Liberia’s numerous gains since the end of the war, including the disarmament of 100,000 combatants and dissolving of former armed factions; the 2005 free and fair elections culminating in a democratic Government lead by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf; the return of half a million displaced Liberians to their homes; the commencement of training a new police force and Army; and the lifting of sanctions on Liberian timber.

“These are welcome developments, but they represent, at best, the end of the beginning,” Mr. Ban cautioned, underscoring the crucial role played by the international community in funding key projects in areas such as employment generation, restoration of basic services such as electricity and water and the rebuilding of infrastructure.

“Today, I appeal to all of Liberia’s partners to contribute generously towards these programmes,” he said.

The Secretary-General said that the UN remains steadfast in its commitment to help the Liberian Government maintain peace and security, as well as assist in reconstruction efforts, primarily through the presence of its peacekeeping mission in the country, known as UNMIL.

Likening the current situation in Liberia to the Korea of his childhood, Mr. Ban said, “I observed firsthand how such strife robs individuals of opportunities for a decent life, and entire societies of prosperity.”

“But,” he added, “I also saw my country overcome that terrible legacy, and achieve great prosperity. I am confident that, with your support and its people’s efforts, Liberia can – and will – succeed as well.”

Mr. Doss was attending the three-day conference – sponsored by the UN, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United States Government and the European Commission – which will assess the Liberian Government’s progress in promoting national reconstruction and development through as well as evaluate the financing needed for these efforts.