The acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General Mr. Aeneas C. Chuma has hailed the contribution of Bangladesh to the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), describing the country as a strong, reliable, and dedicated partner in Liberia's security, development, and stability, as well as that of the entire region.
Speaking at a ceremony in the central city of Gbarnga at which he presented UN Peacekeeping Medals to 1,375 Bangladeshi soldiers serving in the Liberian frontier counties of Nimba and Bong, Mr. Chuma commended the critical role the Bangladeshi peacekeepers had played in maintaining peace and stability along the borders.
"Your relentless efforts along the porous borders have helped ease and minimize refugee and cross-border challenges," the acting UN envoy told the Bangladeshi peacekeepers, singling out their regular cross-border liaison patrols with the Guinean authorities, and with UNOCI, the UN mission in Cote d'Ivoire.
The acting SRSG expressed deep appreciation to the Bangladeshi engineering battalion for the construction, repair and maintenance of airfields, helipads and roads, making them accessible for UNMIL operations, and most importantly for the Liberian people. He also praised the Bangladeshi engineers for the series of training programs they had held to build the professional capacity of the Gbarnga-based engineering battalion of the Armed Forces of Liberia.
The Bangladeshi peacekeepers were also thanked for the important development opportunities they had provided to young Liberians, including computer/IT training, tailoring skills, generator repair and maintenance. Furthermore Mr Chuma commended the peacekeepers for providing vital medical treatment to over 5,000 Liberians through their medical outreach programs.
The acting head of UNMIL noted that Liberia had made much progress since the signing of the peace agreement that ended the civil war nearly 10 years ago, and said the UN would continue to assist Liberia as the country gradually takes charge of its own security. He urged UNMIL staff to "keep up the good work as the UN and Liberia work together during this crucial transition period."
Later, the acting SRSG visited the recently commissioned Gbarnga Regional Justice and Security Hub, where he was briefed on the operations of the hub, and the vital justice and security services that will be provided from the hub to local communities.
Among the dignitaries present at the medal-awarding ceremony were UNMIL Force Commander, Major-General Leonard Ngondi; UNMIL Director of Mission Support, Hubert Price; Deputy UNPOL Commissioner, Mr. Cesar Hawthorne Binag and other UNMIL Senior military and civilian officials.