UNMIL Officer In Charge On Draw Down Plan

The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) Officer-in-Charge, Antonio Vigilante says greater national commitment is urgently required in the force’s draw-down plan.

Officer–in-Charge Vigilante said such commitment is urgently required to make sure that the critical targets are achieved in the coming months, including passage of the Police Act and other important legislation.

The UNMIL official observed that although the initial benchmarks of the transition plan were met, progress in recent months has been slow.

“While the Government holds primary responsibility for the security of the Liberian people, as citizens, all Liberians have an important role to play in maintaining law and order and resolving problems through peaceful means,” the UNMIL official said.

He said in April, the United Nations Security Council authorized UNMIL to resume its drawdown, which was suspended last year due to the Ebola crisis.

He disclosed that the Mission’s military strength will be reduced to approximately 3,400 by September 2015 while the number of police personnel will be almost 1,400.

“The Security Council is expected to authorize the next phase of UNMIL’s drawdown (October 2015-June 2016) of military and police personnel in the coming weeks,” Officer Vigilante said.

He said the UNMIL’s drawdown is not new and the number of military personnel has been reduced by well over 11,000 over the past decade, without major security incidents in the areas from where UNMIL has withdrawn.

He said as the UNMIL drawdown advances, the Mission continues to support the implementation of the Government’s detailed plan to assume full responsibility for all aspects of security in the country by 30 June 2016.

“Now is the time to support sustained progress in the achievement of the Government’s security transition plan. In future years, all Liberians should be able to look back with pride at how they took full responsibility for their own peace and security, a similar pride that has come from uniting to overcome Ebola,” the Officer-in-Charge said in a statement issued in Monrovia yesterday.