Vice President Joseph N. Boakai has expressed confidence that in the absence of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the nation will have a long-lasting peace and cohesive society.
Speaking at the occasion marking the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, held under the theme, “ A Force for Peace, Change, the Future,” on Thursday, May 29, at the Pan African Plaza, VP Boakai said it is important that Liberians continue to reconcile themselves as one nation.
The Vice President said there could be no greater safety measure in place than the will of the people to hold together and to build their nation, even as the peacekeepers had endeavored to see Liberia and its people unite.
“This is my continuing reminder to my compatriots that it is only when we have reached peace with ourselves, that we can give the biggest tribute to UNMIL sustaining that which they have for so long sacrificed to maintain is realized by the people.”
According to VP Boakai, at the other end, however, the departure of service personnel from locations where they had significantly bonded with the population engenders profound separation anxiety.
“Liberia stands confident that we will build on the peace you have helped to shape. We will always remain attached to you in spirit and in recognition of what you have helped this nation to fashion,” he assured.
According to the Vice President, the Ministry of National Defense, the Liberia National Police and relevant international outfits are fully on top and they could ensure that Liberians foresee only the reinforcement of the current peace and stability we enjoy now for over a decade.
Vice President Boakai further stated that more importantly, the advent of the departure of forces leaves that leery thought of the existence of vacuum.
He explained that in such situation, jittery feelings always abound in some quarters about the adequacy of the safety mechanism put in place to compensate for the massive departure and how the reinforcement of the demand for well calculated existing strategy is prepared.
“It is in that we have remained unequivocal on the need for deliberate and well-thought out coordination framework between the relevant local security institutions and the international mission.”
According to VP Boakai, the draw-down of the UN peacekeepers signifies a huge welcome recognition of remarkable progress made toward peace and stability in the country, and this is always worth celebration as its mission has been achieved with success.
The celebration brought together personalities including; Karin Landgren, Special Representative of the Secretary General, Deborah Malac, US Ambassador to Liberia, Colonel Clarence C. Massaquoi, Police Director, Colonel Daniel Ziankahn, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia, Brownie Samukai, Minister of National Defense among others.
A special message delivered on behalf of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, by SRSG Karin Landgren said, UN Peacekeepers have a long and proud history, with more than one million peacekeepers having served in more than 70 operations on four continents since its establishment in 1948.
According to the statement, more than 116,000 UN Personnel from more than 120 countries serve in 16 peacekeeping operations.
The Secretary-General said, these military, police and civilian personnel helped stabilized communities, protected civilians, promoted the rule of law and advanced human rights.
Over the past year, the Security Council has established two peacekeeping operations –in Mali and the Central African Republic again highlighting its trust in UN Peacekeepers to take on tough challenges.