Sir, your front-page article, “UNMIL Not Ending until Post-2017 Elections” (19 May edition) misrepresents an important point covered in the interview with reporters at your offices on 18 May.
During the interview, I clarified that UNMIL is not closing on 30 June 2016, which is the deadline for Liberia to assume full responsibility for its own security.
The article correctly highlights that the UNMIL drawdown has been ongoing for several years and that 1,240 military personnel and 606 police will remain in Liberia beyond 30 June 2016. In addition to its headquarters and other locations in Liberia, UNMIL will maintain five offices outside the capital – in Gbarnga, Greenville, Harper, Voinjama and Zwedru. I also highlighted that the Security Council would take a decision on the future of UNMIL in December 2016.
The United Nations General Assembly is expected to approve imminently the Mission’s budget for 1 July, 2016 to 30 June, 2017, which also includes a 30 per cent cut in civilian personnel.
All Liberians have a stake in a peaceful and stable Liberia.
UNMIL encourages all Liberians to support the security transition plan and expects that all Liberians will take pride in the 30 June, 2016 milestone. Regardless of when UNMIL eventually closes, the United Nations and other international partners will continue to support the Liberian people to maintain peace and security.