27 September 2012

Liberia: Sub-Regional Security Undermines Peace

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has told the United Nations General Assembly in New York that some parts of the West African sub-region are still dogged by serious challenges that risk undermining the peace and progress of the entire region, while the majority of the countries are consolidating economic and social gains underpinned by democratic processes.

But as Chair of the four-nation Mano River Union (MRU) comprising Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and La Cote D'Ivoire, President Sirleaf assured Liberia's commitment to never allow an inch of its territory to be used to destabilize its neighbors.

She said "It is in this context that we categorically condemn all attempts to undermine the peace and democratic gains in La Cote D'Ivoire and are working closely with the Ivorian authorities and UN peacekeeping outfits in both Liberia and La Cote D'Ivoire to protect and consolidate the peace in our two countries."

Speaking Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at the ongoing UN General Assembly in the US, the Liberian leader said Liberia, like many other countries in the region and the world at large, were particularly appalled by the unconstitutional unraveling, of democratic governments in Mali and Guinea Bissau in the early part of this year; and unequivocally condemned these attempts to seize power through unconstitutional means.

She however said Liberia endorses the decisions of ECOWAS aimed at the full restoration of constitutional order in both countries in the shortest possible time.

"Liberia enjoins the world community, particularly the Security Council, to buttress efforts of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) in restoring peace in our region, most especially in Mali," said President Sirleaf.

Notwithstanding, the Liberian leader has called on all countries in the region to work in concert so that individuals' intent on destabilizing some parts of West Africa are treated as enemies in all parts of the region. She recalled that Liberia, from its founding, is a complex nation, and the cleavages that led to decades of war still run deep.

She said Liberia's experience clearly shows that success has its pitfalls, adding that displaced citizens returning from refugee camps in the sub-region, and deportees from around the world swell the ranks of the desperate unemployed, thereby intensifying Liberia's vulnerability.

But she expressed confidence that as Liberia moves forward into its 10th year of sustained peace, "we can state with conviction that our country has turned the corner. Liberia is no longer a place of conflict, war and deprivation."

President Sirleaf boasted that Liberia is no longer the country that its citizens fled, international partners pitied and neighbors feared.

"Our stabilization efforts, over the past six years, have resulted in average annual growth of over 6 percent," said the President.

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