1 February 2013

Liberia: Senate Approves AFL Deployment

The Liberian Legislature has finally approved the decision of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to deploy a platoon, totaling about 45 soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia in Mali on peacekeeping mission.

The Liberian Senate Thursday in regular session concurred with the House of Representatives on the decision after the upper House sought clarifications from the Ministers of Defense, Justice and Finance, respectively on the pending mission.

Addressing a news conference following Thursday's plenary, the Senate Chairman on Foreign Affairs Senator Dan Morais said they took the decision in the interest of the country, and to tell the rest of the world that Liberia is back for good, and was ready to give back to countries that contributed to peace here during the country's 14 years of civil unrest.

Earlier, the plenary of the House of Representatives on Thursday, January 24, 2013 overwhelmingly voted and accepted President Sirleaf's request for Liberia to send peacekeepers to Mali. The Plenary is the highest decision making body of both Houses in the Legislature.

In her communication addressed to both House Speaker J. Alex Tyler and members of the House of Representatives as well as the Liberian Senate, President Sirleaf 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 a larger regional military contingent being mobilized for Mali.

The Commander-In-Chief's communication among others, said Liberia is committed to joining fellow West African states in confronting forces that are threatening the territorial integrity of a member state, the Republic of Mali.

Senator Morais said following clarifications from the ministries of Finance, Defense and Justice, respectively, the Senate in its wisdom, deemed it very timely and necessary to concur with their colleagues for the departure of the soldiers.

He noted that one of the sticky issues that members of the Senate needed clarification on is financing the soldiers in Mali and their security, while there. The lawmakers' decision followed a meeting with Defense Minister Brownie Samukai, who was invited to provide clarity.

Meanwhile, the soldiers are expected to depart Liberia for the mission within 45 days following completion of basic legal and financial requirements.

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