Two-week United Nations strategic assessment mission to Liberia concludes

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, El Ghassim Wane
UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, El Ghassim Wane

(Monrovia) – A two-week strategic assessment mission from UN Headquarters concluded its work in Liberia today. Led by the UN Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) for Peacekeeping Operations, El Ghassim Wane, the team will formulate recommendations for the UN Security Council to consider when it takes a decision on UNMIL’s future by 15 December 2016.

 “We have met with many stakeholders and we will continue consultations in the coming weeks to firm up the recommendations,” ASG Wane said. “The recommendations will be included in the report that the Secretary-General is expected to prepare for the Security Council by 15 November to inform its decision on the future of UNMIL.”

Liberia successfully assumed full responsibility for its own security on 30 June 2016, the deadline set by the Security Council in its resolution 2239 of September 2015. The same resolution set the 15 December 2016 deadline for a decision on UNMIL’s future.

Over the past two weeks, the multi-dimensional team met with a broad range of stakeholders, including Government, security institutions, the political parties, religious institutions, civil society and integrity institutions, the diplomatic corps, regional organizations, the media, and UN Country Team members. The team’s assessment visits outside of Monrovia included Zwedru, Gbarnga and the border with Côte d’Ivoire.

 “In the course of our discussions, there was convergence on several key points, among these was that Liberia has made tremendous progress during the past 13 years of peace,” said ASG Wane.

 “Liberians should be proud of their country’s assumption of full responsibility for its own security on 30 June, which is a major milestone in consolidating peace in the country,” the ASG said. “But building peace is a long-term endeavor, and while Liberia is on the right track, all of our interlocutors recognized that peace remains fragile.”

“We have a collective responsibility to ensure there is no reversal in the years ahead, especially in the 2017 election year. The United Nations will continue to support the people of Liberia, who have demonstrated that they are ready to take the destiny of their country in their own hands, in their efforts to build a long lasting peace,” noted Mr. Wane.

The Strategic Assessment Mission was charged with analyzing the prevailing security situation and the overall capacity of national institutions to maintain stability, and with providing recommendations on UNMIL’s future.

The assessment mission found that there is no credible imminent external threat to Liberia’s security. No incidents beyond the capacity of Liberian security agencies have taken place in areas from where UNMIL has withdrawn. The assessment mission did however note a number of concerns about the remaining gaps in logistics and training of the security institutions.

 “Strengthening and reforming the security institutions and the judiciary are critical,” Mr. Wane said. “But Liberia’s long-term peace and security will hinge on a far broader range of reform processes that address the root causes of the conflict. This includes national reconciliation, land reform, decentralization and the empowerment of all of Liberia’s citizens, including women, youth and the disabled, among others.”

 “I had the honor yesterday of discussing our assessment with Her Excellency, the President of the Republic, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. I assured her, as I did all of our stakeholders, that the United Nations will remain a committed partner of the Government of Liberia to ensure that gains made are consolidated and to avoid any possible reversal – the people of Liberia have suffered too much,” said the ASG.

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About Cholo Brooks 13357 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.