The United Nations peacekeeping chief today re-affirmed the Organization’s commitment to its efforts to help bring stability to Liberia, regardless of any possible reconfiguration of the peacekeeper force currently serving in the West African country.
“We remain more than ever at your side during this period,” the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, said at a meeting with Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. “We do not want to risk jeopardizing the results of these years of effort, but we want to continue making this Mission here a success story.”
A peacekeeping operation, the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), has been on the ground since 2003, when it was deployed to bolster a ceasefire agreement ending a decade of war that killed nearly 150,000 people, mostly civilians. Its mandate includes helping to restore the rule of law and democratic processes as well as facilitating humanitarian assistance.
Last November, President Johnson Sirleaf said that the UN will continue to play a crucial role in the country, with development support becoming the main focus of its programmes as the need for humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping recedes.
Last month, a UN technical assessment mission visited Liberia to assess the way forward for UNMIL. Its remit included assessing the ability of national institutions to maintain peace and security, and it is expected to make recommendations to the Security Council later this month on how to move towards a gradual handing over of security responsibilities from UNMIL to national authorities.
In his meeting with President Johnson Sirleaf, Mr Ladsous commended the policies her Government has developed to consolidate the peace and democracy now being enjoyed in the country.
“There is still a lot of work, but your steadfastness and determination is very impressive,” he said. “We wish you full success in all these good goals. We stand by your side ready to contribute to the extent we can. Liberia has to be one of our success stories.”
The visit to Liberia was the Under-Secretary-General’s first since his appointment in September 2011.