|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
5542nd Meeting (PM)
SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF LIBERIA MISSION UNTIL 31 MARCH 2007,
UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1712 (2006)
The Security Council today extended for six months the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), and endorsed United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s recommendations for a phased drawdown of peacekeeping troops “as the situation permits and without compromising the security of Liberia”.
Acting under Chapter VII, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1712 (2006), which extends UNMIL’s mandate to 31 March 2007, emphasizing that significant challenges remain in completing reintegration and repatriation of ex-combatants and the urgent restructuring of the West African subregion.
The Council’s action followed upon the Secretary-General’s recent UNMIL progress report (document S/2006/743), in which he originally sought a one-year extension for the Mission, because -- despite the establishment of three branches of Government and an operational Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as well as some advances in security sector reform -- he says Liberia was still dependent on UNMIL for providing security, given that the new police service was in its formative stages and training of the Armed Forces had only just begun.
The Council also reaffirmed its intention to authorize the Secretary-General to redeploy troops between UNMIL and the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) on a temporary basis, as needed.
The Secretary-General was further requested to keep the Council informed on Liberia’s progress in meeting benchmarks laid out in his report, in particular on the restructuring of the security sector, the reintegration of former combatants, the facilitation of political and ethnic reconciliation, the consolidation of State authority throughout the country’s natural and mineral resources, and establishment of a stable and secure environment necessary to foster economic growth.
The meeting began at 4:46 p.m. and ended at 4:48 p.m.
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its previous resolutions and statements by its President concerning the situations in Liberia and the subregion, in particular its resolutions 1509 (2003) of 19 September 2003, 1694 (2006) of 13 July 2006 and 1667 (2006) of 31 March 2006,
“Welcoming the Secretary-General’s report of 12 September 2006 (S/2006/743),
“Further welcoming the steps taken by the Government of Liberia to combat corruption,
“Expressing its appreciation for the continuing support of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU) for the Liberian peace process, as well as for financial and other assistance provided by the international community,
“Commending the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), under the leadership of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, for the significant part its support has played in restoring peace and stability to Liberia,
“Emphasizing that significant challenges remain in completing reintegration and repatriation of ex-combatants and the urgent restructuring of the Liberian security sector, as well as maintaining stability in Liberia and the subregion,
“Welcoming UNMIL’s deployments in vulnerable areas at Liberia’s borders,
“Reiterating the continuing need for UNMIL’s support for the security of the Special Court for Sierra Leone,
“Determining that the situation in Liberia continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,
“Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
“1. Decides that the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) shall be extended until 31 March 2007;
“2. Reaffirms its intention to authorize the Secretary-General to redeploy troops between UNMIL and the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) on a temporary basis in accordance with the provisions of resolution 1609 (2005), as may be needed;
“3. Endorses the Secretary-General’s recommendations for a phased, gradual consolidation, drawdown and withdrawal of UNMIL’s troop contingent, as the situation permits and without compromising the security of Liberia;
“4. Requests the Secretary-General to monitor progress on the stabilization of Liberia and to continue to keep the Security Council informed, with particular reference to the broad benchmarks laid out in paragraphs 70 to 71 and annex 1 of his report of 12 September 2006, in particular the restructuring of the security sector, the reintegration of former combatants, the facilitation of political and ethnic reconciliation, the consolidation of State authority throughout the country, judicial reform restoration of effective Government control over the country’s natural and mineral resources, and establishment of a stable and secure environment necessary to foster economic growth;
“5. Calls on the Government of Liberia, in close coordination with UNMIL, to take the necessary steps on its part towards achieving the benchmarks laid out in paragraph 4 above, including ensuring the effective implementation of the Forestry Reform Law, the continuing commitment to the Government and Economic Management Program, and the rapid development of a national security policy and architecture and encourages the international community to support these efforts;
“6. Welcomes the efforts undertaken by UNMIL to implement the Secretary-General’s zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and to ensure full compliance of its personnel with the United Nations code of conduct, and requests the Secretary-General to take all necessary action in this regard and to keep the Security Council informed, and urges troop-contributing countries to take appropriate preventive action, including the conduct of predeployment awareness training, and to take disciplinary and other action to ensure that allegations of sexual exploitation or abuse against their personnel are properly investigated and, if substantiated, punished;
“7. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
The Security Council had before it the Secretary-General’s twelfth progress report on the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) (document S/2006/743). In light of security issues and in view of the planning for the UNMIL’s drawdown, the Secretary-General recommends that Mission’s mandate be extended for one year, until 30 September 2007.
Liberia has continued to make tangible progress in a number of areas, the report states. The three branches of Government are functioning; the reform and restructuring of the security sector is gradually progressing; the resettlement of internally displaced persons has been completed; an increasing number of Liberian refugees have returned home; the Government is taking active measures to fight corruption; and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has begun work.
Progress has also been made in implementing a number of important structural reforms, the report states. The Government has commenced the review of concessions, contracts and licences, and international financial experts have been deployed to most of the key revenue-generating agencies under the Governance and Economic Management Assistance Programme. Measures have also been taken to strengthen the management and operations of the Central Bank and to boost revenue collection and control Government expenditure. The Government’s efforts to meet the goals set out in the 150-day action plan are yielding some results, such as the partial restoration of electricity and pipe-borne water to some parts of Monrovia.
African Heads of State and Government welcomed the progress made in Liberia at the African Union’s last summit in July 2006, the report adds. “Liberia, which was once at the centre of conflict in the subregion, now serves as an example of hope and of what can be achieved when leaders and citizens work together and are committed to peace”, the Secretary-General says.
Liberia, however, faces enormous challenges in several areas, he adds. The country is heavily dependent on UNMIL for providing security, as the new police service is still in its formative stages and the training of the new Armed Forces is only just beginning. The Government and UNMIL will need to carefully manage the internal threats to stability, especially those emanating from spoilers who may be adversely affected by the Government’s reform process. Close monitoring of Liberia’s borders will also continue to be essential, in light of the volatile situation in the subregion, particularly in Côte d’Ivoire. A number of other tasks have yet to be completed, including the reintegration of ex-combatants, the resettlement of internally displaced persons and returning refugees and the consolidation of State authority.
The large number of unemployed youth concentrated in urban centres is a serious source of concern, especially given that the increase in criminal activities in Monrovia and other city centres has been linked to their presence, the report states. While the progress made in the restructuring the Liberian security sector is encouraging, the Government still needs to rapidly deploy a national security policy and architecture, which will enable it to set out a coherent road map for assuming responsibility for the country. Since the Mission’s drawdown will be linked to this road map, the Government should work expeditiously towards finalizing this policy.
The transfer of former President Charles Taylor from the region to stand trial before the Special Court for Sierra Leone sitting in The Hague was an important development, the report continues. It not only signalled that the world will not accept impunity, but also demonstrated the recognition by Liberia’s Government, regional leaders and the Security Council that Mr. Taylor’s continued presence in Freetown was a threat to peace and stability in the subregion.
The Government has taken further steps to reform the judicial sector and enhance the rule of law, the report states. A number of major structural challenges will require the international community’s assistance, however, if they are to be effectively addressed. At the same time, support will be needed for the work of the Independent National Human Rights Commission and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It is important for donors to provide funding to those areas.
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