ECOWAS Special Representative to Liberia, Amb. Baba Tunde Ajisomo, has disclosed that ECOWAS Heads of State have approved Liberia’s Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan’s proposal for the establishment of the National Early Warning Mechanisms.
“On the 8th of July in Accra, the leader of the Liberian Delegation, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augustine Ngafuan, defended robustly the establishment of The National Early Warning Mechanisms, which the ECOWAS heads of state approved on the 10th as a platform to strengthen the national mechanisms for preventing conflict and for providing leakages between the national level and regional level”, Amb. Ajisomo stated.
The ECOWAS diplomat’s assertion was contained in his opening statement on Thursday during the Awareness and Capacity Building Meeting on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), held at Gabriel L. Dennis Foreign Service Institute at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Amb. Ajisomo observed that the uniqueness of the National Early Warning Mechanism is that it will serve as the coordinating unit in preventing conflicts as well as in addressing early potential threats.
He said he was happy that Liberia was also hosting an event on the importance of the early warnings as the Liberian Foreign Minister rightly said, adding, “What we need to do now in line with the policy framework of the national early warning is to institutionalize it and bring on board all relevant stakeholders as our Heads of State agreed on the 10th of July in Accra”.
Amb. Ajisomo added that he was proud that Liberia is not only a pioneer member of ECOWAS but that Liberia has been contributing effectively to the operations of ECOWAS.
He said he looks forward to early institutionalization of the National Early Warning Mechanisms as it will serve as the temperament structure for addressing potential threats and conflicts.
Also speaking, Liberia’s Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan expressed satisfaction that following eleven years of uninterrupted peace in the country following the end of the civil war, the nation can collaborate with the Global Center aimed at deepening awareness on R2P issues in Liberia, assess the country’s capacities and hold discussions on developing an Integrated National Action Plan for preventing mass atrocities.
Minister Ngafuan reflected on the country’s efforts and participation in regional and global R2P’s initiatives, including Liberia’s participation in a Regional Policy Forum on the Responsibility to Protect held in Abuja, Nigeria in June of 2012; Liberia’s participation in the Meeting of the Global Network of National R2P Focal Points in Accra, Ghana in June of 2013; the country’s contribution to the Group of Friends for the Responsibility to Protect in December of 20013; and at the continental level, Liberia’s active participation in the debates shaping major policy decisions on peace and security on the continent.
He noted that Liberia, as a country in a sub-region that suffered the brunt of bloody civil war splattered with accounts of the perpetration of gut-wrenching savagery whether by state actors or amorphous groups. He stressed the need for engaging in efforts that aid the country in erecting the necessary road blocks to conflict which occasion mass human suffering.
“That is why we as a government welcome the R2P initiative because Liberia benefited from the concept where countries far and near seeing the self destruction we were dealing ourselves, intervened to prevent us from going further down the path of destruction and to build peace”, he added.
The Minister observed that globally, there is a wide gap between verbal pronouncements and practical actions in living up to the R2P commitment, adding that countries must commit their scarce resources both materially and humanly.
He observed that some countries in the world, especially those with the wherewithal, may choose only to intervene in conflict situations when their strategic national interests are at stake, and not necessarily because of human rights abuses or the humanitarian considerations.
He urged countries executing their R2P obligations to commit scarce resources, both material and human.
Minister Ngafuan noted that oftentimes, these “strategic national interest calculations do not capture the women and children caught in the line of fire, the ones who are maimed and raped. Their calculations are rather based on business and politics. It is not just talking peace; if it means dying to ensure peace then countries must be more committed to making the ultimate sacrifice.