29 September 2011 Less than two weeks before Liberians go to the polls for presidential and parliamentary elections, the top United Nations official in the West African country has urged them to remain peaceful and cast their ballots to show the world they are ready to consolidate what has been achieved over the past eight years of stability.
“The peaceful conduct of the [constitutional] referendum gives us confidence,” said Ellen Margrethe Løj, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Liberia, referring to a vote last month on proposed reforms to the constitution.
“However, I would like, once again, to call upon all Liberian stakeholders to engage in constructive dialogue and to continuously move the country forward in a peaceful direction.
“I call on all political leaders not to incite violence. I call on all Liberians not to resort to violence. And I call on all Liberians, political candidates as well as supporters to peacefully accept the election results,” said Ms. Løj, speaking yesterday at a ceremony to honour 17 police officers from Pakistan for their contributions to peace in Liberia.
Liberians are scheduled to vote on 11 October in presidential and legislative elections, the second round of democratic elections since the end of the decade-long conflict that killed nearly 150,000 people, mostly civilians, and sent 850,000 others fleeing to neighbouring countries.
Ms. Løj also praised Pakistan for contributing peacekeeping personnel to the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), and the police officers for being actively involved as advisers and mentors to the Liberian National Police (LNP).
“Some of you are assigned in Monrovia to assist the LNP in the development of community policing; others are involved in investigations and making sure the LNP are able to provide professional services to crime victims.
“I call upon all components of the mission to stay vigilant and protect the peace, by doing our part to create an environment that is conducive to free, fair and peaceful elections.”
The ceremony to award medals was attended by UNMIL Force Commander, Major-General Muhammad Khalid; Police Commissioner Gautam Sawang; Deputy Police Commissioner John Nielsen; and other UNMIL senior military, police and civilian officials.
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