26 September 2011 Liberia, where United Nations intervention helped to close the chapter on a disastrous 14-year civil war and open the way to democratic elections and stability, today urged the international community to place a greater focus on preventive measures before crises erupt.
“As a post-conflict country, Liberia has benefited immensely from multi mediation efforts ranging from national, regional and international initiatives aimed at restoring and maintaining stability in the country,” Vice-President Joseph N. Boakai told the General Assembly during the annual general debate, stressing that the UN has a central role in promoting mediation, with the good offices of the Secretary-General remaining critical.
“Our experience leads us to suggest that greater emphasis be placed on preventive measures, and that the tools of mediation be employed as soon as early warning signs of conflict emerge. The benefits of establishing an early warning system that will deal with potentially explosive situations before they degenerate into full-blown infernos are obvious.”
Noting that it is nearly a decade since the UN peacekeeping Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) was sent to the West African country to help restore normalcy, Mr. Boakai voiced pleasure at the fact that his nation has been targeted by the UN Peacebuilding Commission which seeks to prevent post-conflict countries from relapsing back into bloodshed.
Earlier this month the Security Council extended UNMIL, which has an authorized strength of 7,952 military and 1,375 police personnel, for another year, stressing the supporting role it will play in next month’s presidential and legislative elections, only the second such polls since the end of the civil war almost a decade ago.
The elections “will test our commitment to democratic governance and peaceful co-existence,” Mr. Boakai said. “Every action is being taken to ensure that the elections are free, fair, transparent and credible. We invite the participation of the international community to observe and monitor these elections.”
He listed the steps the Government had taken in national recovery and postwar reconstruction, including programmes to stimulate higher levels of productivity, revive basic services, restore infrastructure and re-establish the rule of law.
“Despite the significant gains made in improving conditions of living of our people, we realize that far more needs to be done to fully meet their aspirations,” he said, citing negative economic forces continue that hamper global growth and noting that food security remains a concern for many developing countries.
As have many other African leaders, he called for reform of the 15-member Security Council to reflect the realities of the 21st century with greater representation for the continent.
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