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Liberia faces no more military threat either from within or from without, but serious challenges in state-building remain, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has declared.
“Building credible and effective institutions, particularly in the security and rule of law sectors, will require progress in overcoming the root causes of the country’s conflict, including structural inequalities,” Mr. Ban stated.
“Considerable political will and commitment is essential from all stakeholders, and I therefore call on the people and the Government of Liberia to continue their efforts to strengthen the foundations of democracy, and for international partners to stay the course in Liberia and support national efforts to consolidate the conditions for lasting peace and envelopment,” he added.
“While Liberia no longer faces any military threat, the country still has significant challenges because of its limited national security capacity,” as well as other “potentially destabilizing factors,” Mr. Ban wrote in his latest report to the Security Council on the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), issued last month.
Mr. Ban also noted that continuing stability in Liberia will also depend on the evolution of the situation in the sub-region and the development of national and regional capacities to respond to sub-regional threats to peace and security, which remain a serious concern. He reiterated the UN’s readiness to support West African regional initiatives to enhance stability.
The UN chief pointed out that much has been achieved in enhancing peace, promoting economic recovery and social advancement and strengthening regional cooperation in Liberia under the leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. However, he noted, the gains remain fragile and susceptible to reversal as long as the socio-political basis of governance is not understood by all Liberians.
Mr. Ban, according to UN News, has recommended that the United Nations peacekeeping operation here be reduced gradually by about 4,200 troops in three phases between this year and 2015, when it will have a residual presence of approximately 3,750 soldiers.
He further recommended that UNMIL’s police component maintain its current strength of 498 advisers and 845 officers in seven formed police units, and be authorized to add three formed units as needed over the next three years. UNMIL currently has a total of 9,195 uniformed personnel, which includes 1,279 police, including those serving in formed police units.
Liberia has made considerable progress in the years since back-to-back civil wars devastated the nation and killed about 250,000 people, a UN Security Council delegation said Sunday.
“It’s quite evident that Liberia has made considerable progress since the end of the civil war,” said US ambassador Susan Rice, who led the 15-member United Nations delegation to inspect the implementation of a peacekeeping mission in the country.
Still, Rice, who also met Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, said authorities needed to do more to provide for the country’s security, as well as implement improved justice systems.
Liberia currently relies heavily on a UN mission force of 8,000 men to help maintain stability in the war-scarred nation since its army, built from scratch with US assistance after 2003, is not yet fully operational but Sirleaf hopes Liberia can take charge of its own security within the next three years.
The agenda was to review the implementation on UNMIL’s mandate in leaving Liberia a secured country. If that is the case, what progress has been made?
According to UNMIL, about 4000 police officials have been trained since the mission landed here against the target of 6000.