25 January 2013

Liberia: House Accepts Ellen's Request to Send Troop to Mali

The plenary of the House of Representatives on Thursday, January 24, 2013 overwhelmingly voted and accepted President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf's request for Liberia to send peacekeeping troop to Mali. The Plenary is the highest decision making body of the House of Representatives.

In her communication addressed to House Speaker J. Alex Tyler and members of the house of Representatives, the Liberian leaders requested the consensus of the Legislature for the country to send one platoon of soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) to be integrated into the troops of other regional body that are also sending troop to quiet down tension in Mali.

President Johnson-Sirleaf's communication among other things, said Liberia is committed to joining other West African States in confronting forces that are threatening the territorial integrity of member state, the Republic of Mali.

Said the communication:"As you may recalled in my telephone call on Sunday, I informed you that at the extra-ordinary ECOWAS Submit on January 19, Liberia is committed to joining other West African States in confronting forces that are threatening the territorial integrity of our member state, the Republic of Mali. In effect, I pledged based on the recommendation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and National Defense, who have participated in the past Security Council Meeting, that Liberia will contribute troop from the AFL to the ECOWAS deployment."

Following the reading of the communication, the lower house overwhelmingly voted to approve President Johnson-Sirleaf's request. Out of 39 Representatives, who were in session, 32 voted in favor of the President's request, four voted against and three abstained from the process.

The lawmaker's decision followed a closed meeting with Defense Minister Brownie Samukai, who was invited to provide clarity on issues. But the sending of troop to Mali will not take effect until the Senate concurs with the Lower House's decision. The Senate following long debate over the President's communication, passed a motion to summon the Ministers of Justice, National Defense and Finance to brief the body on the legal, Military and budgetary implication.

The suggestion which was proffered by Senate President Pro Tempore, wants Liberians soldiers who will be sent to Mali be protected by local and international laws and protocols as well as provide better incentives for them (AFL ) and their family in case of death and others eventualities. The three ministers are expected to appear before the plenary on Tuesday January 29, 2013.

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