Properly utilize skills to overcome poverty and enhance development, UN Envoy tells Liberians as she commissions bridge

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Monrovia, Liberia - UN Envoy Ellen Margrethe Løj says that it is crucial to Liberia's development that Liberians effectively utilize their skills to overcome poverty and adversity. She made this remark today on the border between Bong and Margibi counties, when she, together with the Minister of Public Works of Liberia, Kofi Woods, commissioned a Bailey bridge connecting the two counties in the town of Salala. The original bridge was destroyed in 1992 during the height of Liberia's civil crisis. This bridge was jointly launched by the Liberian Ministry of Public Works and UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) Military engineers. The bridge is on the main highway linking the capital Monrovia with the northern and southeastern parts of Liberia.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) assured Liberians that UNMIL remains committed to maintaining peace and stability in Liberia and will continue to support and boost the Government's rebuilding efforts, "while enhancing the capacity of all Liberians to take ownership of their nation".

Ms. Løj strongly urged all Liberians, particularly those of Bong and Margibi counties, to recognize the importance of peace and security for their development. "There is no peace without development, and no development without peace; we have come a long way since 2003. So use this Bailey bridge to help accelerate development in your counties", she stressed.

Hailing the collaboration between UNMIL and the Ministry of Public Works as "an important part of Liberia's development agenda", the UN Envoy emphasized that infrastructure rehabilitation is an essential component of Liberia's Poverty Reduction Strategy. She expressed optimism that the newly-launched bridge will enhance trade and commerce between Monrovia and the rest of the country, as well as between Liberia and its neighbours.

Present during the ceremony were the Superintendents of Bong and Margibi counties, local officials of the two counties, traditional leaders and chiefs.