The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) and Coordinator of United Nations Operations in Liberia, Mr. Farid Zarif, has clarified that UNMIL’s drawdown does not mean that the Mission is about to quit Liberia.
Rather, Zarif said, UNMIL will still have 1,240 military personnel and 606 police on the ground after June 30, 2016 that would be used to assist the Liberian security forces in extreme situations.
“UNMIL shall step in to help Liberia deal with any situation which would threaten a strategic reversal of the progress we have made together,” he indicated.
“The United Nations family will remain a strong partner of the Liberian people and together, we will make progress on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which were recently adopted in New York,” SRSG Zarif emphasized.
He was speaking at the United Nations Day reception in observance of the 70th anniversary of the UN held at the UNMIL headquarters in Monrovia Thursday, October 22.
SRSG Zarif observed that the setting of the deadline of June 30, 2016 by the UN
Security Council for Liberia to assume full responsibility for all facets of its security is a recognition of the country’s achievements in maintaining peace.
Zarif noted that the security of the country is also in the hands of Liberians, and that he is absolutely confident that they will be able to meet this challenge.
He applauded Liberia as one of the organization’s founding members, noting that the United Nations was born out of the hope that a better world could be built, following the destruction brought about by World War II.
The UN diplomat thanked President Sirleaf and the Liberian people for beating back Ebola, a disease that frightened the entire world, noting that the country was the worst hit in the region, but by mobilizing communities and pulling resources together, it succeeded in being the first to defeat this common enemy with help from the UN and other partners.