A United Nations assessment mission here says there is no credible imminent external threat to Liberia’s security, and that no incidents beyond the capacity of Liberian security agencies have taken place in areas from where UNMIL has withdrawn.
It however notes a number of concerns about remaining gaps in logistics and training of security institutions. The UN reached the decision after a two-week strategic assessment mission in Liberia with a call for more to be done to consolidate gains in the security sector as well as create conditions for long-term peace here.
According to a press release, the mission from the UN Headquarters in New York, was led by the Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) for Peacekeeping Operations, El Ghassim Wane. “Strengthening and reforming the security institutions and the judiciary are critical,” the release quotes Mr. Wane as saying.
He emphasized that Liberia’s long-term peace and security will hinge on a far broader range of reform processes that address the root causes of the conflict, including national reconciliation, land reform, decentralization and the empowerment of all citizens.
“I had the honor yesterday of discussing our assessment with Her Excellency, the President of the Republic, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. I assured her, as I did all of our stakeholders, that the United Nations will remain a committed partner of the Government of Liberia to ensure that gains made are consolidated and to avoid any possible reversal – the people of Liberia have suffered too much,” said the ASG.
The release says the team will formulate recommendations for the UN Security Council to consider when it takes a decision on UNMIL’s future by 15 December 2016. “We have met with many stakeholders and we will continue consultations in the coming weeks to firm up the recommendations,” ASG Wane said, and added, “The recommendations will be included in the report that the Secretary-General is expected to prepare for the Security Council by 15 November to inform its decision on the future of UNMIL.”
Liberia successfully assumed full responsibility for its own security on 30 June 2016 in line with deadline set by the Security Council in its resolution 2239 of September 2015. The same resolution also sets the 15 December 2016 deadline for a decision on UNMIL’s future.
Over the past two weeks, the multi-dimensional team met with a broad range of stakeholders, including Government, security institutions, the political parties, religious institutions, civil society and integrity institutions, the diplomatic corps, regional organizations, the media, and UN Country Team members. The team’s assessment visits outside of Monrovia included Zwedru, Gbarnga and the border with Côte d’Ivoire.
“In the course of our discussions, there was convergence on several key points, among these was that Liberia has made tremendous progress during the past 13 years of peace,” said ASG Wane.
“Liberians should be proud of their country’s assumption of full responsibility for its own security on 30 June, which is a major milestone in consolidating peace in the country,” the ASG said. “But building peace is a long-term endeavor, and while Liberia is on the right track, all of our interlocutors recognized that peace remains fragile.”
“We have a collective responsibility to ensure there is no reversal in the years ahead, especially in the 2017 election year. The United Nations will continue to support the people of Liberia, who have demonstrated that they are ready to take the destiny of their country in their own hands, in their efforts to build a long lasting peace,” noted Mr. Wane.
The Strategic Assessment Mission was charged with analyzing the prevailing security situation and the overall capacity of national institutions to maintain stability, and with providing recommendations on UNMIL’s future.