Home Governance “Into Peaceful Nation: Liberia Transformed” …UN Envoy Asserts; As US Backs Peace Crusade Here

“Into Peaceful Nation: Liberia Transformed” …UN Envoy Asserts; As US Backs Peace Crusade Here

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By: H. Richard Fallah

MONROVIA: United Nations Resident Coordinator in West Africa, Christine N. Umutoni, reflected on the enormous progress Liberians have made in the last 20 years while experiencing peace.

“Over the years, this country, where I am proud to serve as UN Resident Coordinator, has made significant strides in its socio-economic development journey,” she noted.

The UN envoy maintained that Liberians have demonstrated tremendous resilience, battling the devastating impacts of Ebola and COVID-19, contending with growing inflation, mobilizing grassroots leadership and making slow but sure dents in tackling infant mortality.

Ms. Christine N. Umutoni: “After the civil war, which claimed the lives of over 200,000 people, a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in August 2003 in Accra, Ghana. Since then, Liberia has sustained a period of uninterrupted stability; transforming from one of the most volatile to one of the most peaceful nations in West Africa.”
“Yet to reap the full economic and social benefits of this hard-fought peace, a lot more needs to be done,” she said.

She continued that the national poverty levels in Liberia remain high while Gender and income inequalities are still pronounced, and it is estimated that 57 percent of school-aged children remain outside the classroom.

“On top of this,” she noted, “rising costs of commodities following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, have added to Liberia’s economic challenges.”

According to the UN Diplomat, now more than ever, a long-term vision and coordinated plan to forge lasting, sustainable development is needed and the UN Country Team is working to support the government together with other partners.

For its part, the United States government, through its Embassy accredited near Monrovia, has cautioned Liberia’s political parties to adhere to the Farmington River Declaration.
In a special press statement issued August 17, 2023, the US embassy said, as the country goes to a very crucial election few weeks from now, politicians should condemn all violence and violent rhetoric, and keep their commitment to free, fair, and peaceful elections.

“When Liberians go to the polls in October, we remind all political parties to adhere to the Farmington River Declaration, to condemn all violence and violent rhetoric, and keep their commitment to free, fair, and peaceful elections,” the statement read.
According to the US, as Liberia celebrates 20 years of peace and democratic governance, which occurred due to the enormous sacrifices of ordinary Liberians, women, youth, civil society, and religious groups to end the brutal civil war, Liberians should be proud of this achievement.

U.S. Embassy congratulated all Liberians on the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement on August 18, 2003 promising that the United States will continue to be a strong partner to Liberia.
It can be recalled that in August 2003, warring factions, including former President Charles Taylor’s erstwhile regime, agreed and assembled in Ghana to negotiate peace following years of brutal carnage.

Taylor was by then opposed and heavily fought by Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL), two then armed rebel factions that invaded the country through the borders of Guinea and Ivory Coast, respectively.

LURD was commanded by Sekou Damate Conneh, a former businessman in pre-war Gbarnga, Bong County, while MODEL was commanded by Thomas Yayah Nimely, who hails from Grand Gedeh County.

Conneh led his LURD rebel faction from Guinea through Lofa and onward to Bomi County before hitting Monrovia, where his faction captured the Freeport of Monrovia (main sea port of entry and economic hub) and created more hardship while Nimely marched along with his fighting force from Ivory Coast to Grand Gedeh, and onward to Grand Bassa County.

After months of terrifying bloodshed involving many innocent people and the damage of hundreds of millions of United States Dollars’ worth of public and private properties, the three factions (LURD, MODEL and Taylor’s NPFL signed the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement on August 18, 2003.

Taylor had by then agreed and left on August 11, 2003, for exile in Nigeria.
It took women’s organizations in particular and some international partners, including ECOWAS, who led the way in compelling former President Taylor to agree to not only a ceasefire but also a dialogue to bring an end to years of senseless bloodletting.

Taylor was in exile in Nigeria before his arrest back on Liberian soil in 2006 and his being taken to Sierra Leone for prosecution for atrocities the Sierra Leonean government said he (Taylor) masterminded in that country.

He was found guilty and sentenced to fifty years in a British prison facility.

It is against such terrifying experiences, according to political analysts that the U.S. Embassy including other diplomatic Missions here are reminding Liberians to remain uncompromising in sustaining the peace and stability of the country, regardless of the politics of the day.

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