The NEWS (Monrovia)

22 February 2008

Liberia: Govt Pleads for Unmil's Full Presence

Monrovia — As the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) prepares to reduce its military presence in Liberia, the Liberian government has launched a passionate plea to the UN Security Council to reconsider its decision.

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, speaking at the Barclay Training Center Thursday, where she and U. S. President George W. Bush addressed soldiers of the newly trained Armed Forces of Liberia and other Liberians, said the Security Council should not reduce UNMIL's military strength in Liberia until the new army is set to take over.

"Please do not reduce the force of UNMIL until our security is ready," she told President Bush.

It can be recalled that the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution 1777 on September 20, 2007 in which UNMIL is authorized to reduce its military forces by 2,450 personnel by September this year.

Recently, UNMIL announced it will be maintaining more than 11,000 troops in Liberia after the troops draw-down in September 2008.

Additionally, the UN Mission in Liberia pointed out that the drawdown plan had already commenced in Grand Cape Mount County since October 2007 with the departure of the Namibian battalion.

The release noted that the remaining troops numbering more than 11,000 will stay in Liberia to continue their duties until otherwise mandated by the Security Council.

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