The NEWS (Monrovia)

28 January 2013

Liberia: Legal, Financial Implications Impede AFL Peace Mission

The Liberian Senate says while it is prudent for Liberia to participate in the ECOWAS' peacekeeping mission in troubled Mali, issues concerning security, legality and financial implications should be looked at carefully before committing troops of the Armed Forces of Liberia in that country.

The Senate's argument came following a formal communication sent to that august body by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf requesting their endorsement.

Speaking Thursday in session at the Capitol, Grand Kru County Senator Cletus S. Wotorson said the issue of sending a platoon comprising of 36 men of the AFL was not bad, but wondered about the current strength of the army and whether Liberia was sending army personnel or troops.

He expressed disappointment over what he referred to as 'blanket approval' by those heading the country's security apparatus that Liberia is capable and prepared to commit troops.

Senator Wotorson said it is important that clarity be made, taken into consideration all aspects as a case study.

Senator Peter Coleman who also buttressed his colleague said the AFL was still in its informative stage and a process of configuration.

Bong County Senator Henry Yallah said the Mail's issue was very critical considering Liberia's porous borders, the drawdown of UNMIL, personnel leaving the AFL as a result of low incentives, the strength of Army, among others.

But Senate Pro-temp Gbehzongar Findley said there is a need for certain questions regarding the legal, security and financial implications to be answered by the Ministers of Justice, Finance and Defense.

"I think we have to look at the security, legal and financial implications before agreeing to send troops to Mali; the President has the constitutional mandate and she should not let go that mandate," Pro-temp Findley added.

He urged his colleagues to give the issue of sending troops to Mali more time for detailed discussion.

But other senators recommended that the President submits a detailed plan on committing troops to Mali.

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