3 July 2013

Liberia: Unmil SRSG Meets Liberia Legislature, Says Troops Not Leaving Anytime Soon

The United National Secretary General Special Representative to Liberia (SRSG) Madam Karin Landgren Wednesday held a one-day security meeting with the leadership of the Liberia National legislature intended to foster collaboration between UNMIL and the Legislature.

The meeting, according to the SRSG is part of an agreement reached between Liberia's legislative leadership and UNMIL that it is useful to have regular structure exchange of views, and Wednesday's meeting marks the beginning of the agreement.

She said, the intent of the interactive meeting between the UNMIL and Liberia Legislature is due to the vital role the body plays in every democratic society. "The legislative branch performs critical functions of representation, lawmaking and oversight, she said."

Said Landgren : "These functions are very important in every society and they are particularly important as Liberia continues to strengthen the foundations of long-term peace, stability and democracy.

Continued Landgren: "This month Liberia celebrates 166 years as an independent republic. Next month, Liberia will mark ten years of peace. This country is on its way to being a success story. There has been great progress since the comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in 2003."

The UNMIL SRSG also said, despite the progress made by Liberia there are still challenges ahead. According to her Liberia is addressing several important reform initiatives, including constitutional reform, electoral law reform and development. She said, all of these initiatives, in which legislators have important roles to play, in different ways hold the key to a strong, stable and united Liberia.

Speaking on the issue of UNMIL's gradual withdrawal from Liberia, she said, UNMIL is not leaving anytime soon as is being perceive by some members of the public. She also disclosed that by June 2015, roughly 4,000 UNMIL troops will remain in Liberia and that UNMIL will still be present in all County capitals with the addition of 420 armed police to enable quick-reaction and backup for the LNP when needed.

"Strengthening Liberia's security institutions is vital, and strongly supported by UNMIL and other partners. We discussed today the importance of having a sound legislative framework for the security institutions, of these institutions to have enough funding and to manage it well, and for there to be adequate oversight. In this way LNP and BIN can gradually assume the role of UNMIL Military and police," she added.

Speaking earlier both speaker Alex Tyler and Pro-temp Gbehzohngar Findley said the UN has promised to remain supportive in providing assistance to the Liberian government.

"I our discussion we had a truthful and friend exchange and we agreed to meet regularly and what was discussed were matters of the state and the working relationship between other government entities and the legislature as well as the UNMIL," Pro-Temp said.

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