|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
5745th Meeting (AM)
SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS LIBERIA MISSION UNTIL 30 SEPTEMBER 2008,
UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1777 (2007)
The Security Council this morning extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) with one year, until 30 September 2008, while endorsing troop reductions.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1777 (2007) and acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council endorsed a reduction of 2,450 personnel deployed in the Mission’s military component during the period October 2007 to December 2008, as well as a reduction of 498 police officers during the period April 2008 to December 2010.
The Council further requested the Secretary-General to monitor progress on the core benchmarks set out in his fifteenth progress report (document S/2007/479) with a view to recommend further troop and police reductions. It reaffirmed its intention to authorize the Secretary-General to redeploy troops temporarily, as may be needed, between UNMIL and the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI).
The meeting started at 10:10 a.m. and adjourned at 10:15 a.m.
The full text of resolution 1777 (2007) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its resolutions and statements by its President concerning the situations in Liberia and the subregion, in particular its resolutions 1750 (2007) of 30 March 2007, 1712 (2006) of 29 September 2006, 1626 (2006) of 19 September 2006 and 1509 (2003) of 19 September 2003,
“Welcoming the Secretary-General’s report of 8 August 2007 (S/2007/479),
“Further welcoming the continuing efforts of the Government of Liberia to improve governance and combat corruption, as well as the important steps it has taken to regain and consolidate government control over Liberia’s natural resources,
“Noting the progress made in rebuilding, equipping and deploying the Liberian National Police and beginning the restructuring of the Armed Forces of Liberia, and in developing a national security architecture, and encouraging the Government of Liberia, in cooperation with the international community, to expedite its efforts in these fields,
“Expressing its appreciation for the continuing support of the international community, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU),
“Commending the work of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), under the leadership of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, for its continuing and significant contribution to maintaining peace and stability in Liberia, and welcoming the close cooperation between UNMIL and the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), as well as with neighbouring Governments, in coordinating security activities in the border areas in the subregion,
“Noting with appreciation the substantial progress made to date in the reintegration of ex-combatants, and recognizing that there continues to be a need for formal sector employment,
“Welcoming the progress achieved on the broad benchmarks laid out in the Secretary-General’s report of 12 September 2006, welcoming UNMIL’s continuing efforts to promote and protect the rights of women and calling on Liberian authorities to continue to cooperate with the United Nations country team and civil society, in order to achieve further progress in these areas and in particular to combat gender-based violence, sexual exploitation and abuse,
“Recognizing the significant challenges that remain in the consolidation of Liberia’s post-conflict transition, including consolidation of State authority, massive development and reconstruction needs, the reform of the judiciary, extension of the rule of law throughout the country, and the further development of the Liberian security forces and security architecture,
“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 30 September 2008;
“2. Reaffirms its intention to authorize the Secretary-General to redeploy troops, as may be needed, between UNMIL and UNOCI on a temporary basis in accordance with the provisions of resolution 1609 (2005);
“3. Endorses the Secretary-General’s recommendation for a reduction of 2,450 in the number of personnel deployed as part of UNMIL’s military component during the period October 2007 to September 2008;
“4. Further endorses the Secretary-General’s recommendation for a reduction of 498 in the number of officers deployed as part of UNMIL’s police component during the period April 2008 and December 2010;
“5. Requests the Secretary-General to monitor progress on the core benchmarks detailed in paragraph 66 of his report of 8 August 2007 (S/2007/479) and any subsequent refinements of the benchmarks that may be recommended by the Secretary-General or his Special Representative, to report on that progress to the Security Council by a date six months following the date of adoption of this resolution and, in view of the extent of that progress, to recommend to the Security Council no later than 15 August 2008 any further reductions in UNMIL’s military component and to confirm as appropriate his recommendation for reduction in UNMIL’s police component provided there is sufficient progress in training of the police;
“6. Expresses its intention to review by 30 September 2008 the Secretary-General’s recommendations for further UNMIL reductions, in the context of the security situation in Liberia and the subregion;
“7. Decides to remain seized of the matter.”
When the Council met this morning, it had before it the fifteenth progress report of the Secretary General on UNMIL (document S/2007/479). Considering numerous challenges still facing Liberia, in particular its complex and fragile security environment, the Secretary-General recommends a gradual drawdown concept for UNMIL. In the meantime, the Mission’s mandate should be extended for a further period of one year, until September 2008.
The proposed drawdown plan would allow UNMIL to adapt to evolving priorities and to conduct a gradual, phased and deliberate transfer of responsibility for the security of Liberia to the Government, giving the Government the opportunity to build its capacity, while the Mission continues to maintain stability in the country. As it is too early to determine the time of UNMIL’s final withdrawal and to plan for successor arrangements, the Secretary-General recommends that a technical assessment mission be dispatched to Liberia in mid-2010, with a view to developing a plan for the future. The national elections due to be held in Liberia in October 2011 would need to be taken into account in making the final decision on the Mission’s withdrawal.
According to the report, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s Government has made great strides in consolidating peace and promoting economic recovery in the country. Its main achievements include completing the implementation of the measures required to lift timber and diamond sanctions; increasing public revenues by 48 per cent; completing the staff-monitored programme of the International Monetary Fund (IMF); preparing an interim poverty reduction strategy; restoring electricity and water supply to some parts of Monrovia for the first time in 15 years; increasing school enrolment by 40 per cent; improving the human rights situation; and cultivating mutually beneficial relations with Liberia’s neighbours. In addition, the Government has remained focused on consolidating its authority, fighting corruption, implementing the Governance and Economic Management Assistance Programme, reforming the security sector, regaining control and regulation of its natural resources and strengthening the capacity of its institutions. Those are remarkable achievements for a country that is emerging from a situation of complete lawlessness and whose State institutions and infrastructure had crumbled.
However, the process of consolidating peace and rebuilding State institutions is still in its formative stage, the Secretary-General continues. Until the army and police can stand on their own and the justice system is rehabilitated, the country will remain vulnerable to the risk of a return to lawlessness. Moreover, it is also critical to provide alternative livelihoods for ex-combatants and deactivated security personnel, create employment opportunities, ensure national reconciliation, address the needs of the victims of conflict, alleviate poverty and deliver basic social services to the population. In order to meet these challenges, appropriate measures to promote economic growth must be implemented in order to generate the requisite public revenues.
The slow progress in strengthening the security sector is a source of great concern. The training of the Armed Forces of Liberia has faced considerable delays, which has resulted in the postponement of the operationalization of its units. Although significant progress has been made in meeting the training benchmarks for the Liberian National Police, its operational effectiveness is constrained by the lack of adequate funding, equipment and accommodation. These deficiencies are a major obstacle to the full deployment of police throughout the country. The management of the Liberian National Police will also need to be strengthened.
Although illegal diamond mining continues to pose serious challenges and remains a potential source of instability, the Secretary-General notes the Government’s commendable efforts to curb these activities, which have resulted in the lifting of the sanctions on diamonds and Liberia’s admission into the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. President Johnson-Sirleaf is also to be commended for the positive steps that she has taken to foster national reconciliation and political inclusiveness in the country. However, ethnic and social cleavages that have plagued the country in the past could still resurface. Additional challenges to stability in Liberia are posed by the uncertain situation in Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea. The Secretary-General is encouraged, however, by continuing efforts to strengthen cordial relations among the countries of the Mano River basin.
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