Liberia’s Fragile Peace not Tied to Security

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The Special Representative of the Secretary- General (SRSG) and Coordinator of the United Nations Operations in Liberia, Karin Landgren, has clarified that Liberia’s fragile peace is not about security, but underlying factors that may drive conflict.

Addressing journalists yesterday at her office in Monrovia, SRSG Landgren underscored transparency and accountability, reconciliation and economic conditions in Liberia as some factors that have the tendency to reawaken conflict.

She had noted earlier in her speech at the Monrovia City Hall that while Liberians have resolved to be peaceful and sustain the prevailing peace, those factors were still playing roles that could result into conflict.

She indicated that though it is true Liberians are on the road to the peace game, the rule has not changed and the cost-benefit calculations of compromised transparency and accountability are complex and reflect centuries of weak governance.

The economic module of Liberia in which concession is prominently featured remains challenging with a great need for shared prosperity for all Liberians, SRSG Landgren warned.

She also mentioned reconciliation as one area of concern which she noted many Liberians who speak to her emphasize as an unfinished business.

Shared values and identities are essential in modeling Liberia to be accepted by all Liberians, Landgren stressed, adding that she would like to see Liberians engaged in discussions about those issues to answer rising questions as to how Liberians can overcome them so that peace will be maintained and sustained.

Ms Landgren said there is a need for independent minded people to bring these issues out for discussion and debate in order to implement the needed change, and not people who will advocate with selfish aims.

She recalled the role of Pamphleteer Albert Porte in Liberia as an example that Liberians should emulate in discussing the mentioned social ills, wondering, “Who can be Albert Porte in Liberia today?”

She also indicated that while the call for reconciliation continues to resonate in the public with the expectation that the President implements the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) reports, the Legislature to which the President must report, has not been able to request from her the report that she needs to make.

The SRSG acknowledged that Liberians at national and local levels have actively collaborated to keep the peace here, urging that they should continue to uphold this huge investment.
She, however, reminded Liberians that UNMIL’s drawdown remains on course and 2016 June is the time to see the UN troops departing the country after spending 12 years here.

Ms Landgren alerted that there are time tables for the drawdown events, indicating that VIP protection has a time table and will not just be abrupt.

She alluded to the fact that most parts of the country do not feel the presence of security apparatus and that there is a need to pass the new Police Act including the Fire Arm and Ammunition Control Act as some of the ways of preparing for the transition in 2016.

She said although there is a need to empower the Liberian National Police (LNP) logistically, more resources should be expended on training mechanics to repair damaged vehicles, “because most vehicles are parked at the police headquarters and other places for minor problems.”

On the issue of the emerging conflict between Liberia and La Cote d’Ivoire, Ms Landgren said UNMIL does not have to resolve it for Liberia, but it is the governments of both countries since they have had reconciliatory talks in 2012 reaching consensus to uphold peace among the people of the two countries.

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