President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says Liberia continues to repose confidence in the ability of the United Nations as the most viable body in the search for global peace and security, and reaffirmed the country’s commitment to support the organization in its endeavors to achieve world peace and security, democratic governance and the advancement of the universal principles of human rights.
She also reiterated her government’s commitment to continue to address extreme poverty, to empower women and girls, to bring marginalized communities into mainstream society, and to make their voices heard.
“These are drivers of our transformational push to save our nation and our world,” Madam Sirleaf declared.
However, she urged nations of the world, the big and powerful nations, to bring the long silence of the call for the reform of the United Nations, particularly the Security Council, to an end.
“The equity we promote through our commitments at the United Nations must also be respected in all of its bodies,” she said.
According to a dispatch from New York, President Sirleaf made the assertion when she addressed the General Debate of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly currently taking place at the UN headquarters in New York.
Speaking about the United Nations and its work in Liberia, President Sirleaf said since the conflict ended in 2003, the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) has worked with Liberia to institute and then to consolidate security, peacebuilding efforts and governance gains in the country.
“I am pleased to report that the drawdown plan of UNMIL was successfully executed on 30 June 2016, when Liberian security agencies assumed from UNMIL full responsibility for the security of our nation and people,” she said, noting that her government recognizes the risks involved, given the severe state of our fragility and the scarcity of resources, but stands tall to assume those responsibilities knowing that partners are still with them.
She indicated that as a resilient and determined nation, which has faced the challenges of several periods of devastation, Liberia is rising again – determined to “walk the decided road to the achievement of our 2030 Vision,” and to successfully conclude the first five-year phase of the country’s Agenda for Transformation.
She said Liberia’s democracy, stalled by years of conflict, stands firm as it marches toward its strongest task, the conduct of Presidential and Legislative Elections in 2017.
On behalf of the people of Liberia, she thanked the United Nations and many international partners who have been with the country on its journey to recovery for helping to preserve the peace over the past thirteen successive years.
Touching on global issues, President Sirleaf noted that the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly is taking place at a time when there is escalation of conflicts engulfing millions of people in many parts of the world.
“We note with particular concern the rise of international terrorism, extremism, xenophobia and violence that continue to pose threats to global political, social and economic stability.
The unabated crisis we continue to witness in the Middle East, on the continent of Africa, and other parts of the world is a challenge to the noble objectives of the United Nations.
The suffering and massive displacement imposed on the people of Syria who are forced to migrate far from their homeland is a blight on the conscience of the world. This situation questions the resolve of the United Nations,” President Sirleaf stressed.
She indicated that the current state of the world, conditioned by the realities of insecurity, requires collective concerted action to avoid unacceptable levels of deprivation, poverty and human suffering.
At the sub-regional level, President Sirleaf who also chairs the sub-regional organization, said the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has demonstrated its commitment and preparedness to combat terrorism in Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and other parts of the sub-region with valued support from partners in the international community.
“We are optimistic about the regional initiatives and collaborations at the levels of the African Union, ECOWAS and the United Nations aimed at helping to consolidate peace and security on the African continent,” she emphasized, adding, “The ECOWAS initiative to bring peace to Guinea Bissau; the African Union efforts in Mali, South Sudan, and the Great Lake Chad Basin Force that is combating Boko Haram and other terrorist groups show progress and demonstrate the relevance of regional solidarity with a view to strengthening peace and security.
“Within ECOWAS, we have emphasized the fight against organized crime, especially cross-border trade in illicit small arms and light weapons, drug and human trafficking, and piracy.
“As Chair of ECOWAS, I can confirm that we are unwaveringly committed to continue, with renewed vigor, efforts for the realization of integration, through infrastructure development, trade and investment, natural resource management, food security, and peace and security,” she noted.
President Sirleaf used the opportunity to recognize, in a special way, the innovative and creative leadership of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who has energized the international community’s collective pursuit of the noble objectives of the United Nations. “As your tenure ends later this year, Mr. Secretary General, please know that your imprints and innovations have inspired us all. You have our very best wishes for success in your future endeavors,” she said.
She acknowledged, with profound gratitude, his stewardship that brought a paradigm shift in development programs within the UN system, ushering in the New Global Agenda which envisions a world without poverty; a world of shared values and responsibilities; a world of gender equality and women empowerment; and a planet saved through effective mitigations – in effect, a world that leaves no one behind.