Liberia

UN Envoy welcomes commitment of Irish government to Liberia

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UNMIL PR 44

Monrovia, Liberia -The United Nations Envoy for Liberia, Alan Doss, has welcomed the commitment of continuing support to Liberia made by a visiting high-level delegation from the Irish government led by senior diplomat, Dermot Gallagher, Secretary General of Ireland's Foreign Ministry and Mr. Michael Howard, Secretary General of the Defence Ministry. The delegation is exploring how the Irish government can support recovery and reconstruction efforts in Liberia, after the Irish Quick Reaction Force ends its tour of duty with UNMIL in May.

Receiving the delegation at the headquarters of UNMIL, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) commended Irish peacekeepers for the important role they have been playing in restoring peace and stability in Liberia through the Quick Reaction Force which has been deployed in many parts of Liberia since November 2003.

"The country is no longer a failed State but it's a fragile democracy," the SRSG said. "UNMIL is here to help the Government to maintain peace and security while Liberia's own security forces are developed and deployed."

Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Mr. Gallagher congratulated the United Nations for its work in Liberia and expressed his government's interest in assisting the international effort in Liberia, particularly in the areas of conflict resolution and reconciliation, the police, health delivery and other priorities identified by the Liberian government. He cited Ireland's own experience with managing civil conflict.

Mr. Doss cited as an example of collaborative work the joint road rehabilitation projects of UNDP, the World Bank and UNMIL. He further stated that international assistance would be needed to finish up the re-integration programme for ex-combatants as well additional support for Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Also present at the meeting were the Deputy Special Representative, Jordan Ryan, the UNMIL Force Commander Gen. Chikadibia Isaac Obiakor, the Irish army Chief of Staff, Lt.-Gen. Jim Sreenan and the Deputy Director of IrishAid, Brendan Rogers with other Irish and UNMIL officials.