The Liberian leader spoke Wednesday, September 8, 2016 when she received a High-level UN Security Council Assessment delegation at her Foreign Ministry office in Monrovia. The delegation was led by Mr. El Ghassim Wane, Assistant Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf welcomed the delegation and pointed out that it has been over 13 years of reconstruction with a lot of progress made including the maintenance of peace despite the many challenges the country has faced.
She informed the delegation that the country’s greatest challenge is to ensure the holding of free, fair, transparent, credible and violence-free elections in 2017. “It will be a test for peace, security, stability and the commitment to move the country to another level of progress, peace and stability. The high level of interventions made bilaterally and by the private sector needs to be secured and protected”, President Sirleaf emphasized.
She pointed out that the 2017 elections must be successful because the country’s future is at stake, stressing that the country cannot do it alone. She noted that the country will still look up to the United Nations as its best partner.
She acknowledged that in spite of the many challenges, Liberian security forces are well trained and ready to take over the security of the nation, noting that this brings confidence despite the fragility to the security and post-conflict situation.
President Sirleaf observed that the rise in global terrorism brings about a new development that must be given due concerns because of its security implications. She admitted that it will be important for Liberia to at some point, end dependence on peacekeeping mission, but advised that the last step toward such end is crucial and critical. She concluded by calling on the United Nations Missions in Liberia to leave behind strong capacity for the national security forces.
Speaking earlier, Mr. El Ghassim Wane expressed appreciation for the partnership with Liberia and indicated that his delegation was in Liberia to review UNMIL’s operations as mandated by the UN Security Council and make appropriate recommendations to the Council.
He told President Sirleaf that his delegation held discussions with the security sector, the diplomatic corps, legislature, civil society, the National Elections Commission, political actors, among others and have gathered a better appreciation of the situation in Liberia. “One thing that is clear so far is that Liberia has achieved a lot and we do appreciate the achievements”, Mr. Wane pointed out.
He acknowledged the commitment of President Sirleaf and her government to Liberia’s development and stability, reflected on the 2005/2011 elections and the country’s new roles in the international community, including her Chairmanship of ECOWAS Authority.
Mr. Ghassim also noted the increasing capacity of the Liberian security forces to handle challenges that may arise and outlined some of the issues raised during his meeting with stakeholders to include land reform, the 2017 elections, support to security institutions, etc.
Meanwhile, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf also received the newly appointed Deputy SRSG of UNMIL, Mr. Yacoub EL Hillo; a native of Sudan who was accompanied to the President's office by the Secretary General Special Representative, Amb. Farid Zarif.