Stability returning to Liberia but challenges remain - UN report

1 June 2004 – United Nations troops have made steady progress in stabilizing Liberia and are now deployed almost throughout the country but challenges remain as the country attempts to consolidate peace, Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a report released today.

Noting a number of positive developments, Mr. Annan hails the establishment of an interim national police force and the launching of the selection of recruits for the new Liberian Police Service.

"The efforts to rehabilitate the judiciary, reform the corrections system and facilitate the extension of State administration throughout Liberia are similarly making progress," Mr. Annan writes. The increasingly stable security situation has resulted in an improved human rights situation and facilitated wider humanitarian access, he adds.

At the same time, the report cautions that "many daunting challenges still lie ahead." The security situation could turn volatile again before the disarmament and demobilization of combatants is completed and the programme for the longer-term, sustained reintegration of ex-soldiers gathers momentum.

In addition, the Government's capacity to deliver services and extend its authority throughout the country remains "extremely limited," the report notes. The country's national resources must be managed properly in order to generate "sorely needed" national revenue.

Mr. Annan also appeals for global assistance for Liberia's peace process. "The programme for the reintegration of former combatants and the repatriation of non-Liberian combatants will equally require the generous support of the international community," he says.

"Without an effective reintegration programme, the entire disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration programme could be seriously undermined, possibly resulting in renewed insecurity in the country," he warns.

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