22 October 2012

Liberia: Security Intensifies At Border

Photo: Glenna Gordon/UNHCR
An Ivorian refugee gets a lift on a motorbike taxi to Zwedru in southeastern Liberia.

Security has been beefed up, with continuous surveillance along the Liberia-Cote d'Ivoire border to ensure stability in the region, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf told her Ivorian counterpart, Alasane Ouattara Thursday.

President Sirleaf's assurance came following a UN Panel of experts report that Ivorian dissidents had established several training camps here. A report the Liberian Government had since denied.

"I want to reassure you that we will continue our surveillance, our monitoring, and our intelligence gathering and will take whatever action necessary to ensure that peace and tranquillity prevails between our two countries," President Sirleaf was quoted as saying during the signing of a communiqué in the Ivorian capital Abidjan Thursday during her one day visit there.

The two countries signed a communiqué Thursday aimed at promoting peace and security along their common borders. The communiqué calls for the reactivation of the Joint Liberian-Ivorian Commission, a body that was established in 1978, but interrupted by the Liberian civil war.

The two agreed to share information on security, economic activities and culture, among others. Speaking at a joint news conference following their working session, President Sirleaf renewed Liberia's support and solidarity to the Government of Côte d'Ivoire in maintaining border and regional peace and security.

To effect the reactivation of the border security, the President Sirleaf named the deployment of security forces at the borders and extradition of suspected Ivorian mercenaries to practically demonstrate the country's commitment to maintaining good neighbourliness.

On the Commission, President Sirleaf said it promotes lasting peace and friendship in the sub- region and subsequently leads to the vibrancy of the two countries in meeting the needs of their respective citizens.

Speaking earlier at the meeting on Thursday, President Alassane Ouattara praised President Sirleaf and the peace-loving people of Liberia for taking practical steps in the maintenance of peace and security along their borders.

He noted that actions taken by Liberia in dealing with border insecurity have drastically contributed to efforts in stabilizing post-conflict Côte d'Ivoire. He said his country would have never mitigated insurrection from dissidents without the actions taken by Liberia.

On the regional scene, the two Presidents welcomed the peace plan for troubled Mali, which includes the deployment of peacekeeping troops at the request of Malian authorities.

Presidents Sirleaf and Ouattara also expressed concern about the situation in Guinea-Bissau, expressing the hope that practical actions are taken to restore that country to democratic rule.

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