Statement by Mr.Dmitry Polyansky, First Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, at the Security Council on the situation in Liberia
We thank Assistant Secretary-General Alexander Zouev for presenting the final progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) (S/2018/344).
We also thank Ms. Schoulgin Nyoni, who spoke on behalf of the Chair of the Liberian country configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), for the plans announced for the PBC’s future participation in the country’s development programmes. We also listened with interest to the statement by Mr. Chid Liberty, a representative of Liberian civil society.
The Russian Federation greatly appreciates UNMIL’s efforts to stabilize the situation in Liberia, of which a recent example has been the measures undertaken by the Mission to assist in preparing and conducting presidential and parliamentary elections. The success of those events has helped to reinforce State institutions in the country and led to a general improvement in the situation.
It is important that the Liberian people have managed to settle their election-related differences in a peaceful manner, harnessing their existing legal mechanisms through the Supreme Court.
Needless to say, today we should also remember those who have sacrificed their lives in peacekeeping missions in order to make it possible for us to consider this Mission closed. We want to warmly thank all of those who have contributed over the years to the success of a mission that becomes part of history today. In that regard, we want to particularly commend the good offices of Special Representative Farid Zarif. The United Nations presence has made a notable contribution to maintaining calm in the country during the post-election period.
We are satisfied with the security situation in Liberia. On the whole, it appears that the authorities are coping with the functions that were transferred to them from the United Nations peacekeepers in July 2016. The democratic transfer of power that took place at the beginning of 2018 has made a considerable contribution to State-building.
However, Monrovia is still facing the challenge of ensuring the establishment of State institutions throughout the country. Until then, it is difficult to see how the authorities will be able to implement the provisions of the peacebuilding plan. Furthermore, Liberians are showing insufficient momentum in reforming law-enforcement bodies and the justice sector, which are crucial to the State’s ability to maintain the necessary level of security.
The new president of Liberia has major tasks ahead with regard to settling inter-ethnic and inter-communal conflict, resolving land and territorial disputes, and, crucially, restoring trust in the criminal justice system. It will also be important to pay serious attention to finding solutions to the underlying causes that led to the initial outbreak of the conflict, especially issues linked to land use.
We believe it is essential for Liberia to establish effective cooperation with countries in the region, particularly Côte d’Ivoire, in order to maintain stability in the border areas. These issues are becoming increasingly urgent in the light of the growing terrorist threats in the region. We also want to emphasize the importance of encouraging the process of returning Ivorian refugees to their homes.
We were pleased to note that the national healthcare system has taken the lessons from the fight against Ebola on board. However, the epidemic prevention mechanisms must not be allowed to atrophy. We hope that Monrovia will continue to work to strengthen its State foundations, maintain peace and stability and achieve consistent socioeconomic development.