Margibi, Liberia - UN Deputy Envoy, Mr. Jordan Ryan, has assured Liberians that the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) is committed to achieving the broader agenda of peace building, consolidate the rule of law, and strengthen national institutions by providing support to the Liberian government. Mr. Ryan made this statement when he awarded UN peacekeeping medals to 300 officers of the Ukrainian Aviation Unit for their contribution to peace and stability in Liberia. The Ukrainians are stationed at Liberia's Roberts International Airport in Margibi County.
On the renewal of UNMIL's mandate, Mr. Ryan said, "the recent extension of the mandate of UNMIL for another year represents a strong commitment by the UN to maintain peace and security in Liberia." He added that the Security Council is urging all UNMIL personnel to consolidate the gains achieved and tackle the remaining challenges.
Mr. Ryan, who is the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) for Recovery and Governance, emphasized that the current drawdown of UNMIL's forces is being executed, based on the actual situation on the ground, and will consider the attainment of set benchmarks. "The drawdown is being carried out in a phased, gradual and well-calibrated manner to avoid putting at risk the gains made over the years," he said.
The DSRSG reminded the Ukrainian peacekeepers that to succeed in tackling the remaining challenges requires discipline at all times. "We have been given the responsibility to care for the people of this country who have suffered so much because of the scourge of war," he said. He called on the peacekeepers to scrupulously respect the Secretary-General's policy of zero tolerance for sexual abuse and exploitation.
Commending the peacekeepers for their support, the UN Deputy Envoy said the peacekeepers' contribution to UNMIL is befitting of Ukraine's legacy in UN peacekeeping. "Liberia and the UN will always remember your contribution in maintaining peace and security in this country, because your deployment has ensured the safe transportation of colleagues, cargo and supplies throughout Liberia," Mr. Ryan noted. The DSRSG paid special tribute to the Contingent Commander, Colonel Taras Shliukharchuck, under whose able leadership the officers have performed satisfactorily.
Since their arrival in Liberia in January 2004, the members of the Ukrainian Aviation Unit have flown mission personnel and VIPs, delivered cargo, organized medical flights, and provided observation flights and air escorts to force movement totaling 27,550 flight hours.
Attending the medal award ceremony were the Ukrainian Ambassador accredited to the Republic of Guinea, His Excellency Andriy Zayats; Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Rule of Law, Ms. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu; UNMIL Deputy Force Commander, Maj.-Gen. Carl Modey; UNMIL Military Chief of Staff, Brig.-Gen. Emmanuel Quist; Director of Mission Support, Mr. Stephen Lieberman, and other senior military and civilian officials of the mission.