Liberia: Weah Overturns Liberia’s “No” Vote on Ceasefire in Gaza

President Weah

— Says he was not aware of the vote

In the wake of the bold stance taken by Liberia as the only African nation to vote against a ceasefire in Gaza at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on December 12, President George Manneh Weah has demanded that the vote be rescinded on grounds that the earlier decision runs contrary to an intervention he made in the matter as Head of State, as well as to his personal stance as a peace advocate.

In a release issued on Tuesday, December 19, the Liberian Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs, and Tourism announced that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had been mandated by President Weah “to rescind Liberia’s negative vote of December 12, 2023, at the United Nations General Assembly that rejected Resolution A/ES-10/L.27 (Protection of Civilians and Upholding Legal and Humanitarian Obligations: Ceasefire in Gaza).” 

“The Liberian Foreign Ministry has therefore ensured the reversal of the negative vote through the appropriate channels at the UNGA and registered a new vote in favor of a ceasefire in Gaza, thereby joining the 153 countries that had earlier voted in favor of the resolution for a ceasefire in the Gaza War,” the release said. 

In his mandate to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, President Weah made it emphatically clear that he has always stood on the side of peace across the world and has spoken of its indispensability at several international meetings and assemblies, including the United Nations General Assembly, as well as through diplomatic engagements. 

The debate over the war in Gaza has turned the global debate on terrorism on its head, with many opting to give priority to the escalating humanitarian crisis over any consideration of military force. However, Israel, which was attacked by Hamas on October 7, saw 1,200 people killed and around 240 kidnapped. Because of this, Israel has resolved that it will not stop its military campaign until it eradicates the Palestinian group Hamas, which controls Gaza. Over 100 hostages reportedly remain in captivity in Gaza.

Liberia voted against the December 12 resolution along with the US, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Austria, the Czech Republic, Guatemala, Micronesia and Nauru.

However, in its December 19 statement, the Government of Liberia clarified that the decision of Liberia’s Diplomats to vote against the UNGA Resolution calling for the cessation of hostilities in Gaza between Israel and Hamas did not get the acquiescence of the President who is the Chief architect of the country’s foreign policy. 

The Government of Liberia recalls that long before the vote, President Weah made a passionate appeal in a communication to the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, His Excellency Mr. Benjamin Nyetanyahu, for the exercise of restraint and consideration for civilians who are the real victims of the ongoing crisis and requested for a humanitarian lull in the armed hostilities to ensure the delivery of relief, while allowing for a diplomatic settlement. 

That letter from President Weah to His Excellency Prime Minister Nyetanyahu was dated November 10, 2023, and receive by Her Excellency Madam Shlomit Sufa, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the State of Israel, resident in Accra, Ghana, and accredited to the Republic of Liberia. 

The Government of Liberia says while it supports the right of the State of Israel to defend and safeguard its territorial sovereignty and protect its citizens against Hamas and any other antagonistic force, it has always been concerned about the humanitarian consequences of war in Gaza.

The Government of Liberia reiterates its call to the warring parties to cease fire and allow for the delivery of critically needed aid and services for the sake of humanity, to those affected by the war and to commit to ending the armed conflict. 

The Government of Liberia also reiterates its call for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages being held by Hamas associated with the Gaza War.