- The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Liberia still grapples with daunting challenges, including security, rule of law and development, despite registering giant strides in recovering from the more than decade-long civil war.
Mr Ban has pledged the UN's continued assistance to Liberia. "I have come to Liberia to see at first hand the remarkable achievements your country has made in recovering from a devastating conflict. And I have come to reassure the Liberian people of my steadfast commitment to peace, stability and prosperity in your nation," the UN chief told a joint session of Liberian legislature in Monrovia.
The Secretary General's four-nation tour also takes him to Ghana, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire.
"As the most representative legislature in the history of this country, you have a unique chance to build a national vision for a secure, peaceful and prosperous Liberia – one that provides opportunities for all its citizens," he said, adding progress is needed in several areas, including reforms in the legal and judicial system.
Mr Ban added that more progress is necessary for the integration of communities affected by war, promotion of recounciliation and national unity. This should be coupled with economic development.
"Delivering the peace dividend in these areas is necessary to underpin the stability that Liberia currently enjoys," he said. "In this and other challenges confronting Liberia, the entire United Nations family will work with you."
The UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia [UNMIL] is on the verge of its drawdown process, but the Security Council is expected to vote on the mission's next phase. This will be done after the government had reviewed the progress.
The UN chief said his recommendations to the Council on the drawdown will hinge on the government’s ability to assume full responsibility for its national security.
“Our common strategic goal is to ensure that Liberia has a solid security sector – one that can stand on its own feet before UNMIL completes its withdrawal.”
He said the surge in prices of food did not affect Liberia alone, but the whole world. He said "the recent worldwide protests over soaring global food prices have demonstrated the need for Liberia to meet the Millennium Development Goals in order to be safe from the weaknesses of globalization while taking advantage from its myriad opportunities for growth and prosperity."
Mr Ban wondered why rape continues to be common committed crime in Liberia. He therefore appealed to the government, traditional and community leaders to champion the fight against rape and all acts of sexual and gender-based violence.
From Liberia, Mr. Ban flew to Burkina Faso to meet President Blaise Compaoré and Prime Minister Tertius Zongo.
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