The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has acknowledged receipt of a joint letter from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her Ivorian counterpart, Alassane Ouattara, regarding the drawdown of the United Nations Missions in Liberia (UNMIL), the Executive Mansion has disclosed in a press release in Monrovia yesterday.
Mr. Ban has meanwhile promised to submit the request to the UN Security Council shortly, adding that it is important to ensure that Liberia maintains the momentum in its reconstruction and transition processes.
He urged the Liberian government to solicit resources to strengthen its security sector, especially the Liberia National Police (LNP).
Mr. Ban praised the strong ties and excellent cooperation subsisting among member states of the Mano River Union (MRU) and the sub-regional body, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
President Ouattara announced the request in January when he closed a three-day Joint Council of Chiefs and Elders Meeting (JCCEM) held between Liberia and La Côte d’Ivoire.
He vowed to speak with Mr. Ban Ki-moon on extending the mandate of UNMIL beyond 2016.
President Ouattara stated that when he speaks with the Mr. Ban, he will ask him to extend the presence of UNMIL forces in Liberia until the 2017 elections are over.
However, in a statement issued in January, UNMIL said that it would proceed with the extraction of its troops, but would maintain a contingent, at least 1500 strong, stationed in La Cote d’Ivoire to be dispatched to Liberia only in the case of “extreme need.”
Mr. Ouattara emphasized, “I am sure that Mr. Ban Ki-moon will listen to us.”
In a related development, Mr. Ban has spoken of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which he expressed the hope that Liberia would take ownership of and disclosed that the UN is preparing to organize two high-level meetings on the SDGs and climate change in April 2016.
According to an Executive Mansion dispatch, Mr. Ban appealed for President Sirleaf’s participation at these high-level events, which he said will be followed immediately by a signing ceremony of the Climate Change Agreement reached in 2015 in Paris, France.
On the issue of the joint letter from Presidents Sirleaf and Ouattara, Liberia’s Foreign Minister Marjon Kamara has requested Mr. Ban to give the matter due consideration and noted that the Liberian National Police (LNP) needs to do more, assuring that she would continue to be an advocate for adequate resources for the police.
On the SDGs, Minister Kamara informed Mr. Ban that Liberia has begun taking actions, including a briefing provided to the Cabinet so that they have a general knowledge and understanding of the development initiatives.
She informed him of a formal launch of the SDGs to create awareness in Liberia.
She indicated that a team from the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union Commission (AUC) are expected to begin work to align the SDGs with Liberia’s development initiatives, including the Agenda for Transformation (AfT), and Vision 2030.
Madam Kamara also said Africa’s Vision 2063 would be integrated into the national development programs.