French Ambassador Pledges Support to LNP

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French Ambassador to Liberia, Joël Godeau, has assured the Liberian Government of France’s commitment to support the Liberia National Police (LNP) and the Police Support Unit (PSU) when the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) shall have finally withdrawn its peacekeepers from Liberia on June 30, 2016.
Amb. Godeau made the commitment at a program marking France’s Bastille Day (National Day), in Monrovia on Tuesday, July 14. He said France will continue to assist the LNP and the PSU with equipment and training to maintain law and order, when UNMIL shall draw down by next year.
His promise comes amidst plan of UNMIL drawdown after which the Liberian Government is expected to take full control of its security.
Considering other factors including accounts police brutality and harassment as contained in the United States 2014 Human Rights Report, many Liberians are constantly heard expressing fear about the uncertainty of peace in the absence of UNMIL.
With specific reference to reconciliation, Ambassador Godeau said though the work of reconciliation among Liberians is not completely achieved, he believes that peace has been consolidated.
France, he said, considers therefore, that it is now necessary to complete the drawdown of UNMIL Forces so as to close the mission, and to carry out the transfer to the Government of Liberia at the date of June 30, 2016, of the full responsibility of its security.
France, he noted, has no doubt about the ability of the Liberian Police personnel to ensure in due course, by its own means, the security of the country during the next major democratic event, the October 2017 presidential and general elections, as it was able to do during the senatorial elections last December.
He recalled that France is the third largest contributor to the peacekeeping operations in Liberia and has supported the activities of UNMIL for the last 12 years.
Amidst France’s roles in peacekeeping mission and respect for human rights, Ambassador Godeau, however, said it has exposed his country to terrorist attacks.
Recalling some key events, he said the Charlie Hebdo attack in January this year was not only aimed at making the 17 people victims, but also intended to undermine the core values of the Republic and the fundamental values and essential freedoms, including freedom of expression.
He also said the exposure of his country to terrorist attacks is also because France is engaged in the denunciation of terrorism and in support of countries – especially those in Africa – whose stability is threatened by terrorist groups. He named Mali, Nigeria, Chad, Nigeria and Cameroon as countries in which France’s military commitments are felt in respect to their sovereignty.
He said the action of France meets the approval of the countries concerned and is in conformity with the principles of the UN Security Council.
Despite the persistent threats and attacks, Amb. Godeau said the commitment will last the needed time to the disappearance of terrorist threat in the region.
Meanwhile, the ambassador also recalled that France was instrumental in liaising with other partners to fight the Ebola virus in Liberia and the two other affected countries in the Mano River Basin.
He boastfully expressed that France was proud to have seen many French volunteers in Liberia responding to solidarity calls by the Liberian Government during the health emergency period, during which a French nurse of MSF, Lucie Perardel, was hit by the virus.
He pledged that France will adhere to international call for the support of Liberia’s post-Ebola economic recovery through European budgetary aid.
He also assured that at the bilateral level the French Development Agency (AFD) is preparing to mobilize a loan, with a concessional rate of nearly $21 million for co-financing, with the African Development Bank, the improvement of the network of transportation and distribution of electricity.
Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs at the Foreign Ministry, Elias Shoniyin, in remarks recalled France’s role in Liberia’s catastrophic health crisis and thanked President Francois Hollande for keeping up the diplomatic tie between his country and Liberia.

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