The Government of Liberia (GoL) and the United Nations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), formally acknowledging and declaring Liberia as an Official United Nations Peacekeeping Contributing Country, a release from the mission has said.
The MOU, according to the release, establishes administrative, logistics, and financial terms and conditions to govern the contribution of personnel, equipment and services provided by the GoL in support of the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA); and specifies United Nations Standard of Conduct for personnel provided by the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL).
Liberia's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, signed on behalf of the government, while Atul Khare, UN Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Field Support, signed on behalf of the agency.
Amb. Kemayah described the signing of the MOU as a significant milestone for the GoL; and in particular, the AFL.
"It has been a long process; leading up to this day; a long time coming; and we are grateful that the first ever MOU between the GoL and the UN to fortify the support of the AFL in MINUSMA, has finally been realized through the support of President George Weah, and the UN family," Kemayah said.
He said that the MOU will mutually reinforce the commitment between the GoL and the UN to the peacekeeping initiatives in MINUSMA, and further enhance the capacity of the AFL to adequately provide personnel, equipment and services; in support of its mission in Mali.
Amb. Kemayah expressed appreciation that the MOU supports the expansion in the remuneration or re-imbursement capacity of the AFL in relation to MINUSMA.
He recalled that Liberia's contribution to the peacekeeping efforts in Mali was a conscious decision, propelled by the good will of the global community in their assistance, and resolve to ensure the restoration of peace, security, and democracy in Liberia after a protracted civil conflict.
Liberia first deployed in Mali in 2013 as a platoon-size infantry of 45 officers; embedded within the Nigerian contingent; under the Africa International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA); and subsequently; under Tactical Control (TACON) of the Togolese Battalion (TOGBATT).
Today, the Liberian contingent stands at 105 Officers-a feat that Amb. Kemayah attributes to the commitment of President Weah, the government and People of Liberia to the cause of restoring peace and security in Mali.
"The February 11, 2018 pronouncement by President Weah, during program marking the Armed Forces Day; which subsequently actualized an increase in the size of the Liberian Contingent in MINUSMA from 78 to 105 officers; is evidence of the steadfast and unwavering commitment that the GoL affixes to the advancement of peace and security in Mali; and in Africa at-large," Kemayah said.
The current composition of the Liberian contingent, which also comprises of 12 military staff officers serving in various positions within MINUSMA, is testament of the level of skills, knowledge and experience the Liberian soldiers have acquired over the years; developing the Liberian battalion into a "Force for Good," in the United Nations Super Camp in Timbuktu, Mali"
"As I sign this MOU, I do so, paying tribute to the memory of our fallen officer of the AFL, Private First Class Ousman Sheriff; and honoring the courage and bravery of our injured; and our gallant men and women of the AFL, who in the line of duty made; and continue to make the ultimate sacrifice for peace and security in Mali. I also sign this MOU; paying tribute to all fallen men and women; and honoring all the injured; and those currently serving in Mali and other peacekeeping missions around the world; in pursuit of the much needed global peace and security," Kemayah said.
Mr. Khare declared that the signing of the MOU was an acknowledgement that Liberia has formally transitioned to a peacekeeping contributing country with a deployed force protection unit company in Timbuktu, Mali.
He thanked President Weah for the "great contributions" the country is making towards the attainment of international peace and security; and expressed gratitude that Liberia-a country which recently hosted peacekeeping operations, is now repaying by contributing to restoring peace in Mali.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by Lt. Colonel Daniel Holman Jr. of the AFL, and officials of the United Nations Department for Field Support.