President George Manneh Weah has expressed gratitude for the sacrifices made by officers of various contingents of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) whose tremendous efforts helped restore Liberia from a broken and devastated country to a peaceful one that is engendering its own development efforts.
President Weah, in his remarks at a ceremony of honor and farewell for police and military personnel who served with UNMIL, lauded UNMIL’s efforts for what he termed as continuous support to the peace and stability of Liberia.
He explained that the country wouldn’t have come to where it is now without the support and contribution of the UN peacekeeping mission that made it possible for Liberians to sustain peace in the country.
He explained that it was the intervention of the UN peacekeeping mission that led to the ceasefire and the country is still enjoying peace for the past 12years, adding that Liberians themselves accepted to work with UNMIL by ensuring the nation is secure and embraced peace.
“I express my gratitude to UNMIL for the level of peace and stability and many thanks to those soldiers who left their countries and families to restore peace and help improve our Armed Forces of Liberia.
“On a personal note, as President of Liberia, when you return to your families, please secretly or openly say President Weah extends his thanks and gratitude for being so patient while you were away,” he noted.
In his remarks, the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), Farid Zarif, said, “This event signifies an important benchmark in the history of the United Nations in West Africa, and the mission in Liberia has been successfully completed with honor and professionalism. While my colleagues in uniform are writing the last pages of the peacekeeping operations here, Liberians and their leaders have started writing the first pages of a brand new chapter in their history, and the fact that the current circumstances allow the departure of our last contingent indicates that Liberia has reached the point where they feel absolutely confident of their future.”
He explained that the UN country team is building its capacity in order to continue its support to Liberia. “I have high hopes for this country and I would like to thank every officer, commander, soldier serving today and having served in the past towards UNMIL’s support to Liberia,” he said.
The African Union (AU) Ambassador to Liberia, Ambassador Ibrahim Mbaba Kamara, described the farewell ceremony as ‘very historic,’ because Liberians have witnessed the turning over of a new chapter in the history of the country after 14 years of civil crisis.
“Liberia is now peaceful after a period of stabilization, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, post-conflict recovery, peacebuilding, reconstruction, among others,” he said.
He applauded UNMIL and others for the immense continuation of the force and, for that matter, the mission over the years and their contribution to peace and security in the country. “I wish to use this occasion to congratulate the gallant men and women who in one way or the other contributed towards the success of the mission in Liberia,” he added.
The program was attended by US Ambassador Christine Elder, the head of ECOWAS, members of the Armed Forces of Liberia, and other dignitaries.