|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6619th Meeting (PM)
With Success of Approaching Elections in Liberia Vital, Security Council Extends
Mission’s Mandate for One Year, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2008 (2011)
Council Requests Deployment of Technical Assessment Mission
After Inauguration of New Government in 2012 to Consider Peacekeeping Drawdown
Pointing to the approach of general elections in Liberia and recognizing the “significant challenges” that remained across all sectors there despite the efforts of the Government in national reconciliation and recovery, the Security Council this afternoon extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in the country (UNMIL) for one year, until 30 September 2012.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2008 (2011) under the Charter’s Chapter VII, the Council reiterated its authorization of the Mission to continue to assist the Government with the 2011 general presidential and legislative elections with logistical support, coordination of international assistance and support to Liberian stakeholders in creating an atmosphere conducive to peaceful polling, as recommended by the most recent report of the Secretary-General. (See Press Release SC/10380 of 13 September)
Also by today’s resolution, the Council urged all Liberians to help ensure an atmosphere that enabled free and constructive political debate and that any outstanding issues regarding the electoral framework were finalized. It also urged Liberian actors to guarantee unrestricted access to polls with cooperation from UNMIL, consistent with the Mission’s role in the protection of civilians. It called upon all parties to respect the results of the polls.
Looking towards a future drawdown of UNMIL, with successful elections a core benchmark, the Council requested the Secretary-General to deploy a technical assessment mission after the inauguration of the elected Government in 2012 that would focus on the security transition and develop detailed proposals for changes in the Mission, while encouraging the Government, meanwhile, to continue to plan with UNMIL in that regard.
Reaffirming inter-mission cooperation arrangements between UNMIL and the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), the Council emphasized the need for the two Missions to coordinate their strategies on border security, armed groups and the influx of Ivorian refugees into Liberia. It asked the Secretary-General to report on that effort to the Council and troop-contributing countries.
The Council underscored the importance that the military concept of operations and rules of engagement of UNMIL be regularly updated and requested the Secretary-General to report also on those to the Council and troop contributors.
After adoption of the text, the representatives of France, Germany and Portugal, supporting UNMIL’s work in Liberia, nevertheless stressed the need to ensure that the Mission’s competencies were transferred to national authorities in preparation for a drawdown of military capabilities or other necessary changes, and for the assessment mission called for in the resolution to be conducted by 30 April 2012. France’s representative stressed that the Council must constantly review and adapt missions to the needs of the country in which they were operating and to make the best use of resources, which were not limitless.
Similarly, the representative of the United Kingdom regretted that the resolution did not include specific language to address the full range of concerns needed to prepare for a transition and to ensure that the mandate was adjusted in a timely and responsive manner.
The representative of the United States said, however, that she was not ready to impose rigid timelines on UNMIL, given the uncertain situations presented by the elections and the border conditions. She hoped and expected to draw down UNMIL’s strength next year, but such a drawdown must be determined by the facts on the ground, and not by any artificial deadlines.
Following those speakers, Liberia’s representative thanked the Council for its unanimous action. He pledged that the Liberian Government and people would continue the march forward towards peace and sustainable development long after UNMIL had left, and he recognized that national authorities would have to build capacity for that purpose. He welcomed a United Nations assessment mission by April 2012 and assured the Council that the Government would reinforce its efforts to plan for an eventual transition.
The meeting began at 3:30 p.m. and ended at 3:51 p.m.
The full text of resolution 2008 (2011) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its resolutions and statements by its President concerning the situation in Liberia and the subregion, in particular its resolutions 1971 (2011), 1938 (2010), 1885 (2009), 1836 (2008), and 1509 (2003),
“Welcoming the Secretary-General’s report of 05 August 2011 (S/2011/497) and taking note of its recommendations,
“Welcoming the efforts of the Government of Liberia to further national reconciliation and economic recovery, and to combat corruption and promote efficiency and good governance, in particular steps taken with regard to strengthening Government control over natural resources, and noting with concern the slow progress on the important issue of land reform, urging intensified effort towards achieving progress on the transition of security responsibilities from UNMIL to the national authorities, particularly with regard to improving the capacity and capability of the Liberia National Police and on the consolidation of state authority throughout the territory,
“Recognizing that lasting stability in Liberia and the subregion will require well-functioning and sustainable Government institutions, including security and rule of law sectors,
“Commending the assistance provided by both the Government and the Liberian people to the refugees that have relocated temporarily in eastern Liberia,
“Noting that the United Nations Mission in Liberia’s (UNMIL) mandate includes assisting the Government of Liberia to consolidate peace and stability with national institutions that are able to maintain security and stability independently of a peacekeeping mission and ensure the future stability of Liberia, recalling the transition benchmarks for the drawdown phase of UNMIL, including core benchmarks on the Liberia National Police and the national security strategy, welcoming the progress achieved, and noting the need for accelerated progress in taking forward planning for the security transition, the process of which is expected to commence in mid-2012,
“Stressing that the successful holding of timely, credible, inclusive and peaceful elections, in accordance with the constitution and applicable international standards, is a key condition for the consolidation of democracy, national reconciliation and restoration of a stable, peaceful and secure environment in which stabilization and socio-economic development can progress in Liberia, and emphasizing the need to promote strong voter turnout and participation of women in the electoral process,
“Taking note of the Secretary-General’s recommendation to deploy a technical assessment mission to Liberia after the inauguration of the elected Government in 2012 that will develop detailed proposals for the next stages of UNMIL’s drawdown, as well as for the handover of security responsibilities from UNMIL to the national authorities,
“Welcoming the Peacebuilding Commission’s contribution to security sector reform, rule of law and national reconciliation, and noting that challenges still remain in these key areas,
“Recognizing the significant challenges that remain across all sectors, including continuing problems with violent crime, and recognizing that the instability in Côte d’Ivoire continues to pose cross-border security challenges for Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire,
“Noting with concern the threats to subregional stability, including to Liberia, in particular posed by illicit drug trafficking, organized crime, and illicit arms,
“Commending the work of 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 noting with satisfaction the close cooperation between UNMIL and the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), as well as the neighbouring Governments, in coordinating security activities in the border areas in the subregion,
“Welcoming the efforts of the Secretary-General to keep all peacekeeping operations, including UNMIL, under close review and reiterating the need for the Council to pursue a rigorous, strategic approach to peacekeeping deployments,
“Expressing its appreciation for the continuing support of the international community, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU),
“Recalling its resolutions 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009), and 1960 (2010) on women, peace, and security, concerned about the high incidence of sexual and gender-based violence, welcoming the continuing efforts of UNMIL and the Government of Liberia to promote and protect the rights of civilians, in particular women and children, and reaffirming the importance of appropriate gender expertise and training in missions mandated by the Security Council,
“Encouraging the efforts to ensure adequate human rights presence, capacity, and expertise within UNMIL to carry out human rights promotion, protection, and monitoring activities,
“Expressing its appreciation for the contribution of UNMIL military personnel to the provision of security for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, which concluded on 7 March 2011, per resolution 1971 (2011),
“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 2012;
“2. Reiterates its authorization to UNMIL to continue to assist the Liberian Government, as requested, with the 2011 general presidential and legislative elections, by providing logistical support, particularly to facilitate access to remote areas, coordinating international electoral assistance, and supporting Liberian institutions and political parties in creating an atmosphere conducive to the conduct of peaceful elections;
“3. Recognizes the primary responsibility of the Government of Liberia and other national actors to create propitious conditions for the forthcoming elections, and in that regard urges the Government, political parties and their constituents, as well as all Liberian people, to help ensure an environment conducive to a timely, credible, inclusive and peaceful electoral process, which includes free and constructive political debate, calls upon the Liberian actors to ensure that any outstanding issues regarding the electoral framework are finalized and ensure secure conditions for the conduct of and unrestricted access to the polls, including through cooperation with UNMIL, consistent with the mission’s role with regard to the protection of civilians, and calls upon all parties to respect the results of the polls;
“4. Recalls its endorsement of the Secretary-General’s recommendation that the conduct of free, fair, and peaceful elections be a core benchmark for UNMIL’s future drawdown;
“5. Encourages the Government of Liberia and UNMIL to continue to make progress in the transition planning process, particularly in addressing critical gaps that need to be filled in order to facilitate a successful transition, and requests that the Secretary-General deploy a technical assessment mission to Liberia after the inauguration of the elected Government in 2012 that should focus on the security transition, and also develop detailed proposals for the next stages of UNMIL’s drawdown, based on a thorough review of progress made towards the transition benchmarks, with a view to providing timelines and recommendations for the further reduction of UNMIL’s military component;
“6. Reaffirms the inter-mission cooperation arrangements provided for in 1609 (2005) as needed and on a temporary basis, between UNMIL and UNOCI, and calls on troop contributing countries to support the efforts of the Secretary-General in this regard;
“7. Further emphasizes the need for UNMIL and UNOCI to regularly coordinate their strategies and operations in areas near the Liberian-Côte d’Ivoire border, in order to contribute to sub-regional security and to prevent armed groups from exploiting the seam of political boundaries, and requests the Secretary-General to report on them to the Security Council and troop-contributing countries;
“8. Further emphasizes the need for the donor community to support the Government of Liberia, as well as the United Nations, and other humanitarian actors, as appropriate, in their response to the current influx of Ivoirian refugees;
“9. Emphasizes the need for coherence between, and integration of, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, and development to achieve an effective response to post-conflict situations, requests that the Secretary-General continue to coordinate and collaborate with the Peacebuilding Commission, and encourages the Peacebuilding Commission, following close consultation with the Government of Liberia, to continue to report on the findings of its missions and its recommendations on how it can accelerate progress first and foremost on security sector reform, rule of law, and national reconciliation;
“10. Underscores the importance that the military concept of operations and rules of engagement be regularly updated and be fully in line with the provisions of this resolution, and requests the Secretary-General to report on them to the Security Council and troop-contributing countries;
“11. Calls upon the Government of Liberia, in coordination with UNMIL, the United Nations country team and international partners to continue to develop national security and rule of law institutions that are fully and independently operational, and to this end continues to encourage coordinated progress on the implementation of all security and justice development plans;
“12. Encourages ECOWAS to develop, with the support of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), a subregional strategy to address the threat of the cross-border movements of armed groups and weapons as well as illicit trafficking, with the assistance of UNMIL and UNOCI, as appropriate;
“13. Welcomes the efforts by the Government of Liberia to combat sexual and gender-based violence and further encourages it, in coordination with UNMIL, to continue to combat impunity for perpetrators of such crimes and to provide redress, support and protection to victims;
“14. Requests UNMIL to continue to support the participation of women in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacebuilding, including in decision-making roles in post-conflict governance institutions, appointed and elected in Liberia, within existing resources;
“15. Further requests the Secretary-General to keep it regularly informed of the situation on the ground as Liberia enters this next critical phase, and to provide by 30 April 2012 a report on the issues addressed in paragraphs 2, 5 and 7, including recommendations for appropriate Security Council action, and expresses an intention to consider these recommendations in a timely manner;
“16. Decides to remain seized of the matter.”
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