"There is still more to do in support of Liberia's peace", says UN Envoy
Monrovia, Liberia - "Much has been accomplished, but there is still more for the UN and its partners to do in support of Liberia's peace, security and development. Building and consolidating peace has never been the responsibility of one group alone; together with the Liberian people and the Government of Liberia, we have helped bring peace and stability."
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Coordinator of United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), Ms Karin Landgren, made these remarks on Friday August 31, 2012 when she awarded 58 military observers and staff officers for their contribution to UNMIL and Liberia's peace.
"UNMIL has embarked on its transition process, a process that will include the handing over of security responsibilities to Liberian authorities. This is a gradual process that requires time and preparation and as it continues, we need to redouble our support to building the capacity of Liberian security agencies. The U.N. remains fully committed to Liberia's peace, stability and development. We will continue to protect Liberia's security with our Liberian counterparts, until the country stands on its own," said the SRSG during the medal award ceremony held at UNMIL Headquarters in Monrovia.
"Deployed in various offices at the Force Headquarters and Star Base, you assist the Force Commander in formulating concepts of operation, and playing a major role in their successful execution. You are the link that binds the different branches and sections at Force Headquarters together", said SRSG Landgren, commending the Staff Officers of UNMIL.
Turning to the Military Observers, the UN Envoy described them as the eyes and ears of the Mission, providing regular assessments that enable the Mission to keep a pulse on security, public order, community disputes and cross-border movements, including in remote and difficult terrain. "I would especially like to thank our Military Observers for actively participating in joint border meetings with neighboring Sierra Leone, Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire. These have fostered important collaboration and information-sharing with national security agencies."
The UN Envoy told the peacekeepers, representing 29 different nations, "As unarmed military personnel traveling a land that is not your own, you have demonstrated to the people of Liberia that peaceful dialogue is the way of the future. As some of you prepare to return to your home countries, you are also now Liberia's ambassadors."
During the ceremony, the SRSG commended the Force Commander, Major General Muhammad Khalid, the Deputy Force Commander, Brigadier General John Kwasie, and the Military Chief of Staff, Brigadier General Hugh Van Roosen, for their leadership of UNMIL's military component.