The New Dawn (Monrovia)

11 January 2013

Liberia: Govt Refutes Troops Withdrawal

The Liberian government has refuted a report about troops withdrawal from the Southeastern border with Cote d'Ivoire.

The government, in a statement, stressed that the Liberian army is on a process of "routine rotation" while monitoring peace and security progress in the neighboring country.

Last year, a dissident incursion in neighboring Cote d'Ivoire left several UN Peacekeepers killed, creating security tension at its border with Liberia.

The Ivorian authorities suspected that Liberian mercenaries collaborating with loyalists of former President Laurent Gbagbo executed the raid from inside Liberia.

The government here subsequently increased security at the border and arrested several Liberian ex-rebel fighters, including Gen. Ofori Diah and others, who are currently in detention.

The governments of Liberia and Ivory Coast have established joint defense cooperation at their common border.

Speaking on Thursday at a weekly press conference in Monrovia, Liberia's Information Minister Lewis Brown said the Government considers the armed reinforcement of troops at its borders with neighboring countries necessary and to have helped the neighboring country achieve its desire for peace and security.

"However, we will not withdraw the Armed Forces from the border until we have an opportunity to, in more detailed and more comprehensive [way] review all of the progress that is being made and how we can continue to contribute in stabilizing and further securing the peace and stability of La Cote d'Ivoire," said Minister Brown.

Government-owned New Liberia Newspaper reported this week that the army has ended their mission at the border, but the Information Minister said what is on is routine ... rotation of the troops, which he said, has been mistakenly reported as a withdrawal.

"It is a routine rotation of the troops and subject to a much broader consultation of the current security situation", Brown added. He however expressed the Liberian Government's pleasure over ongoing developments in La Cote d'Ivoire, but said decision will be made regarding its security at the border.

"We look forward as a government to increasing our good relations with all of our neighbors and to do whatever we can... to continue to support regional stability and peace," said Brown concluded.

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