The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) has been drawing down on its troops that have provided nation security since 2003. That is nine years now, and the UNMIL intervention has largely been without incident. Despite the palpitation of hearts over the drawdown, with a lot of people fearing the misuse of power when full security gets in the hands of nationals, the plan is on irreversible course whatever consequence in store. Speaking at the 67th Anniversary of the United Nations, President Sirleaf recommended a problem-free transition, saying it must be responsible. The Analyst reports.
President Sirleaf says while UNMIL's presence in Liberia is infinitely desired it will soon come to a close, raising the question of whether or not Liberia is prepared to man its own security and also capable of underwriting the cost.
The Liberian leader said the Government of Liberia recognizes the challenges it faces in the process of UNMIL's inevitable withdrawal from the country.
"It is our hope that UNMIL's transition will be sensitive to the need for a responsible, gradual and phased transition approach, occurring over 3-5 years; alignment of the transition activities with our national budget cycle, and within our broader reform processes," the President said. "And finally it must include a turnover process which considers and responds to the agreed three tier levels of threats. All these determinants, we believe, will serve to ensure that UNMIL's eventual withdrawal is undertaken in a manner, and at a pace that allows our security agencies, particularly the Liberian National Police (LNP), to quickly takeover."
She however said in response to these challenges, a Joint UNMIL-GOL Transition Working Group was established to work very closely with UNMIL in formulating a roadmap for implementing transitional activities.
"In the process, we successfully identified specific security agencies to take over those tasks that UNMIL will turn over, as well as the necessary financial resources to do so," she said.
President Sirleaf expressed happiness that the "conditions which for decades have imperiled progress in Liberia have now significantly receded, thanks to the timely intervention of UNMIL in late 2003 to halt fighting and help us transform a military contest into a political contest."
"Since UNMIL's intervention, Liberia has held two successful elections, and significantly consolidated its democracy. And in addition to providing hard security for Liberia, UNMIL has provided critical support to Government in addressing humanitarian and other human development challenges. UNMIL's support was particularly crucial in reforming our security sector particularly the Liberian National Police; and has worked closely with our U.S. partners in reestablishing and retraining of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL)."
She highlighted two hallmark partnerships in what she called Liberia's very fruitful and positive relationship with the United Nations in the recent period. "One, the work of UNMIL and its tasks of peacekeeping and peace-building; and two, Liberia's engagement with the UN Peacebuilding Fund, and its recent placement on the Peacebuilding Commission Agenda by which important security, justice and reconciliation initiatives have received funding."
The President praised the "extremely valuable relationship" Liberia has and continues to pursue with UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes.
She said as a founding member of the United Nations, a body conceived for the singular purpose to unite States in pursuit of international peace and security, "we believe the UN has strived to stay true to its founding purpose. Hence, as we commemorate yet another anniversary of the UN, may we be reminded of the many persons – young and old – who are not so fortunate to enjoy the peace we now enjoy - those children in Syria, Mali and elsewhere who cannot go to school because war is raging and tearing down the sinews that hold their societies together.
"There are people in drought-ridden parts of our world who cannot grow enough food to feed their families, and cannot find enough safe drinking water. We all must therefore soberly reflect upon the emerging challenges of today which may threaten the UN's noble goal, in full assurance, however, that the UN provides a significant platform for addressing these sorts of challenges. This is why Liberia continues to support multilateral actions through the United National as the most viable means to address world challenges."
Speaking further, President Sirleaf said: "As we said in our remarks at the 67th session of the General Assembly in New York, Liberia joins other members of the world body, especially African nations, in calling for reforms within the UN system especially the Security Council to reflect the current global reality of changing world demography and to achieve fairer global representation. To do this, serious attention must be given to the calls and desire of the developing world to have a stronger voice on the Council."
She recalls: "During the Assembly, Liberia also called for greater commitment to peaceful resolution of international conflict like that which now consumes Syria and many other nations; and for greater commitment to the success of the Millennium Development Goals as we prepare to craft a new set of goals that will engender sustainable development after 2015. Our role as a member of a special UN High Level Panel on post-Millennium will afford Liberia the opportunity to bring the perspectives of smaller and economically challenged states to the noble but complex task of setting appropriate goals that enhance sustainable development. At the recent General Assembly, we also called for swift action on the part of the Security Council to resolving the conflicts in Mali and Guinea Bissau, and for sustaining peace in Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire, just to name a few."
The Liberian leader said nations of the UN must see peace as the sine qua non for engendering human progress and Development.
"As a nation," she further asserted, "we solemnly reaffirms faith in the underlining principles of the UN and its related Agencies, and Liberia continues to cherish the conviction that the world body would move beyond repeated deadlocks to defend the noble principles of the UN, ushering all mankind, irrespective of race, color, creed, or ethnicity, into an era of unprecedented peace, security and prosperity."