‘Liberia Has Great Potentials’

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UN Deputy Secretary General, Amina Mohammed, in handshake with President Weah

-Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed says as UNMIL draws curtain on a ‘Successful Mission’

Despite the precarious economic condition that the country currently faces as a result of a poor economy, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Madam Amina Mohammed has said that Liberia is brimming with potentials that would help put away its ugly past and make it emerge as a success story in the sub-region.

Amina Mohammed made the statement on Thursday in Monrovia at a press stakeout with President George Manneh Weah at his Foreign Ministry office.

She said although United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) is leaving behind a country that has a great potential to achieve lasting stability, the country has deepened its democracy and improved the livelihood of its people.

Madam Mohammed said that the security and stability that UNMIL has provided have not only brought back peace and tranquility, but has enabled thousands of refugees and displaced persons to return to places they call home.

“We are glad that over the past couple of years the state has been rebuilt and hundreds of thousands of ex-combatants reintegrated within their communities. We know that justice and security institutions have been restored,” Madam Mohammed said.

The press stakeout took place following what Madam Mohammed described as fruitful discussions with the government and representatives of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). She lauded Liberians for the peaceful and orderly political transition.

After nearly 15 years in the country, the mandate of UNMIL has finally ended and the UN Deputy S/G was in town to officially draw the curtain and also bid Liberians a final farewell.

UNMIL has been the custodian of peace and stability for a decade and a half, and Madam Mohammed noted: “Today is a very special moment as we come to a conclusion of another successful peacekeeping mission in West Africa.”

At the time of UNMIL’s deployment, Liberia was considered a failed state, with a non-existent economy and institutions that were virtually in ruins, as well as a disintegrated national police and army. These were as a result of the conflict in which more than a quarter of a million Liberians were killed and a third of the population displaced.

But the Deputy UN SG noted, “We will like to commend all of the troops, contributing countries and donor partners in Liberia’s peace consolidation,” and also pay tribute to the 202 personnel that lost their lives keeping peace in Liberia.
However, in contrast to her comments about the great potentials that the country has, the top UN official said the global body is of the belief that under President Weah’s leadership, and with the full support of the UN and other international partners, he will continue to address issues of poverty, youth unemployment, illiteracy and the lack of basic infrastructure in the country.

Sustained international investment in the country beyond UNMIL’s deployment, she noted, will require the support of donors and partners.

“UNMIL might be leaving, but let me say 17 UN funds and agencies will remain in Liberia to focus on sustainable development and improving the lives of the people which is aligned with your aspiration and commitment to your people during the elections.

“President Weah indicated that UNMIL has not only contributed to the country’s peace and stability, it positively impacted all aspects of the Liberian society and our daily lives,” she said.

Madam Mohammed arrived in Liberia on Wednesday evening and prior to meeting with the president, concluded discussions with some members of the cabinet and permanent representatives of the UN in the country.

The President, on behalf of the Liberian people, lauded the UN Security Council, all troops contributing countries and donor countries that provided funding to make this mission a successful one. He also lauded the gallant men and women, some of whom paid the ultimate prize while serving here.

He assured the international community, especially the UN, of his government’s fullest commitment to the consolidation of peace.

“I want to thank the UN for its immense contributions to our society since our return to democracy and the partnership in rebuilding our democratic institutions,” Weah said.

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