UN Security Council extends UN mission in Liberia for another year

The Security Council Friday extended the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) until 30 September 2016, and authorized a reduction in the number of its personnel, as preparations continue for the security transition to the country"s authorities next year.

The Council "affirms its expectation that the Government of Liberia will assume fully its complete security responsibilities from UNMIL no later than 30 June 2016 and encourages Member States and multilateral organizations to continue to provide financial, technical and other assistance to the Government of Liberia in this regard"," said a resolution that was unanimously adopted by the 15-member body.

In his latest report on UNMIL, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that it will be a "historic moment" when the Government of Liberia assumes all its security responsibilities from the Mission. "It will be an important milestone, a demonstration of confidence that the country has turned the corner from conflict, disorder and dependence to a future of sustained peace, unity and independence," he wrote.

While welcoming the important progress made to date by the Government, with support from UNMIL and other partners, Mr. Ban noted that challenges remain that will require additional assistance on all fronts in order to complete the transition by 30 June 2016.

"All stakeholders must sustain their focus on implementing the ambitious transition plan developed by the Government and also on the national reconciliation and continuing political reforms that are essential for consolidating peace," he stated.

By today"s resolution, the Council also decided that the mandate of UNMIL will be the protection of civilians; reform of justice and security institutions; human rights promotion and protection; and protection of UN personnel. It also decided that UNMIL shall put "renewed focus" on supporting the Government to achieve a successful security transition.

Further, it was decided that the Mission"s authorized military and police strength will be decreased, by 30 June 2016, by nearly 3,260 personnel.

The Council also affirmed its intention to consider the possible withdrawal of UNMIL and transition to a future UN presence to continue to assist the Government to consolidate peace and, in this regard, requested the Secretary-General to conduct an assessment mission in order to provide recommendations to the Council by 15 November 2016.

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