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UNMIL dep. chief pledges commitment

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The Deputy Special Representatives of the Secretary General of the United Nation Mission in Liberia or UNMIL, Mr. WaldermarVrey, has pledged the UN’s continued support to Liberia during the coast of its drawdown period.

He said though UNMIL will shortly depart Liberia, its presence will still be felt in the country, regarding the supervision of the country’s security sector so as to ensure proper management to avoid any kind of disenchantments.

The Deputy SRSG made the assertion yesterday, January 12, 2016, at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism on Capitol Hill during its weekly press briefing. He expressed the need for local community focus on initiatives to promote the peace process, saying: “we want the local community to play a major role in these cross-border initiatives; whenever issue arises, they will need to come together to put measures in place to sustain the peace in Liberia,” said the Deputy SRSG.

According to Mr. Vrey, the way in which Liberia handled the Ebola outbreak is a clear signal of its preparedness to take on the ownership of the affairs of state. “I want to recognize the efforts made by this government in tackling the deadly Ebola disease which killed thousands of people in the three West African region,” he emphasized.

He indicated that the upcoming cross-border meeting of the council of elders and chiefsof Liberia and La Cote d’Ivoire, expected to begin on the 16 of this January, is meant for the two countries to share ideas and find solution to the many problems taking place at the Liberian-Ivorian borders.He said it was a good thing that the two countries have decided to meet again for the second time, because such initiatives will help bring peace and understanding to both countries.

He pointed out that the decision by the two countries to undertake such initiatives will help both countries in the promotion of border security.“I want to encourage both governments to maintain the spirit of cooperation and coordination for the both countries.

Meanwhile, the two governments have agreed to host the meeting in the Western Ivorian City of Guiglo fromJanuary 16-18, 2016. The First session of the JCCEM was held in the southeastern Liberian city of Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County in October 2013. It brought together Presidents Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and AlassaneOuattara of Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire, as well as chiefs and elders of both countries.

Acting Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf told a regular MICAT Press briefing Tuesday that the JCCEM initiatives were intended to pursue the consolidation of cooperation, peace and security, through regular cross-border meetings, confidence-building measures, as well as sharing of information between citizens residing in border communities.

He noted that the dates and venue of the meeting was agreed at the end of the Quadripartite meeting with Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire and the two United Nations Missions in the two countries. The

Third Quadripartite Meeting was held early March 2015 in the Abidjan, Ivory Coast, with delegates reaffirming their commitment to strengthening the existing bilateral cooperation between Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire, as well as acknowledging that the security situation remains fragile in the border regions in spite the progress made so far.

The Participants also hailed efforts by both governments to stabilize the region through genuine peace and reconciliation. He also said that the Liberian delegation will include traditional leaders, local government officials, youth and women representatives from border counties of Nimba, Grand Gedeh, River Gee and Maryland to form part of the meeting.

Acting Minister Sirleaf commended UNMIL and the Carter Center in Liberia for the level of partnership in the planning the exercise, as Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Ivorian President AlassaneOuattara are expected to grace the gathering.

By Lewis S. Teh& Ethel Tweh-Edited by George Barpeen

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