Ellen, UNMIL in security talks
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has been in talks with UN envoy here over the nation’s security as discussion continues amidst UNMIL drawdown. Speaking at her Foreign Ministry office on Monday President Sirleaf told the new head of the United Nations Mission here that preparations were far advance for the country to take charge of its security.
She said part of that preparation requires strengthening the Police, Immigration and other apparatus of the security sector as UNMIL draws down. President Sirleaf who has for the most part left the discussion of the UNMIL draw down with heads of security agencies sounded confident indicating that the country’s security apparatus were ready to take over.
However, she was quick to point out to the new UNMIL chief Farid Zarif: “Together with you and your team, we will work in clearing the challenges and gaps that exist within the process (secuirty take over) thus far. We will look [at] the dates, milestones, etcetera and work to address the existing issues before the May 2016 timeline associated with the drawdown,”.
President Sirleaf further briefed the new head of UNMIL about the Ebola crisis and the Post Ebola Economic Recovery Plan of the country that seeks to lead Liberia to recovery following the devastating Ebola crisis that killed over 4,000 persons in the country.
She expressed satisfaction about the country’s capacity to respond to any future outbreak of the Ebola virus disease, making reference to two different outbreaks that were fully and quickly contained by the country’s Incidence Management System headed by deputy health minister for preventive services, Tolbert Nyenswah.
For his part, SRSG Farid Zarif expressed joy for his new assignment and assured President Sirleaf that he sees his coming as an opportunity to support and work with the Liberian people through the Liberian Government. He recalled that he was in Liberia in 1993 as chief of elections of the United Nations Mission and is very excited to be back.
“Madam President, Liberia is blessed to have you as its leader because the country has changed its space and status under your able leadership. You have had such remarkable achievements since assuming power and your legacy is unmatched by any of your predecessors,” SRSG Farid pointed out.
He promised to play a role in strengthening the Liberian leader’s success legacy and to serve the Liberian people through his support for the President and her Government. “By supporting you to serve well is an extension of my service to the country and its people.”
Mr. Farid Zarif of Afghanistan was appointed as Special Representative of Secretary General by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on August 12, 2015. He succeeds Karin Landgren of Sweden, who completed her assignment here in July 2015.
-Edited by Othello B. Garblah