The United Nations Security Council has extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMILL) by one year to September 30, 2015.
Disclosing this during press conference at UNMIL’s headquarters in Monrovia Wednesday, the Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG), Karin Landgren, said this is due to the Ebola pandemic that has hit the country and claimed the lives of hundreds since March this year.
Landgren explained that because of the Ebola crisis, the United Nations Security Council did not discuss the drawdown of UNMIL and security transition during its Council meeting on September 9, 2014.
The UN official said it devoted discussions entirely to the rapid development related to Ebola outbreak which they termed as Liberia’s ‘gravest threat since the end of the civil war.”
She added that discussion about UNMIL drawdown in Liberia was suspended in order to focus discussion entirely on the destabilizing impact of Ebola and the economic, social, political and security consequences that are already being felt.
She stressed that prices have risen, economic growth is expected to be cut by more than half, trade has reduced, many farmers are not tending their field in affected areas, and children are not in school.
Landgren pointed out that the Security Council adopted its resolution on UNMIL on September 15th, expressing grave concern about the extent of the outbreak of the virus.
She noted that one of the messages reinforced by the Security Council is that UNMIL is staying at Liberia’s side as the country battles to turn the tide of Ebola infections.
She emphasized that UNMIL’s mandate has been rolled over until the end of 2014 which, according to her, means that UNMIL was extended without any changes.