The peacekeeping roles the regional body of the Economic Community of West African Sates (ECOWAS) has and continues to play in the stability of the West African region, especially as it relates to the prevention of threats, have been highly commended by Vice President Joseph N. Boakai.
ECOWAS’s role in the prevention of crises in the sub-region, thereby underscoring the importance of a regional approach to the resolution of problems, especially with the advent of the new threat of terrorism, won the appreciation of the Vice President.
VP Boakai made the remarks yesterday on Capitol Hill when he received Valdemar Vrey, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for Rule of Law, who paid him a courtesy visit.
He said ECOWAS has been forthcoming in many ways including the intervention of the regional body in crises in Mali, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast, among others, which has brought peace and stability to the region.
“The Liberian government has approved a detailed security transition plan that will enable the country to assume full responsibility for all facets of its security by June 30, the deadline that has been set by the United Nations Security Council for UNMIL’s drawdown,” a statement from the VP’s office said.
The Vice President also spoke of the importance of putting an early warning system into place to prevent crises happening in the region.
“An early warning is a major element of disaster risk reduction. It prevents loss of life and reduces the economic and material impacts of disasters. To be effective, the system needs to actively involve the communities at risk, facilitate public education and awareness of risks, effectively disseminate alerts and warnings, and ensure there is a constant state of preparedness,” said VP Boakai.
Earlier, Mr. Vrey said he had a positive experience in Liberia and hailed Vice President Boakai for his support in the establishment of the early warning system in Liberia, the release added.
Meanwhile, the country’s security transition plan, which sets clear benchmarks for Liberian authorities to take over all security responsibilities still performed by UNMIL, was prepared in close consultation with UNMIL and other stakeholders.
Some of these responsibilities, such as providing a presidential guard and safely disposing of unexploded ordnances from the war, will be performed by Liberians. The plan is closely linked to UNMIL’s own drawdown, but it is less about replacing the UNMIL presence and more about addressing the challenges of maintaining security, peace and access to justice in postwar Liberia, stakeholders have said.
UNMIL said for the security transition plan to succeed, the Liberian government must consistently prioritize the security sector and rule-of-law reforms throughout the 14 months remaining until the handover deadline for the presidency.
Meanwhile, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has assured her full commitment to the transition, and that justice and security issues were included in the nation’s post-Ebola recovery plan.