Kofi Annan Flowers UNMIL Military Officers, Observers


Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

September 28, 2004

The Secretary General of United Nations (UN) Kofi Annan, during the weekend honored over 300 top military brass of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) for their sacrificial services being rendered in war-torn Liberia.

Presenting the medals of honor to 119 military headquarter staff and 200 observers who are deployed throughout the country, UNMIL’s officer in charge, Souren Seraydarian, on behalf of the Secretary-General told the officers at the mission’s military Headquarters at the Free Zone, Bushrod Island that “The presentation of these medals is a clear indication of the international community’s commitment to Liberia.”

He said the mission in Liberia being the largest in existence today, the work of the Headquarter staff is planned by the observers. “You are in the frontline, you will not be forgotten by UN and Liberians.”

Mr. Seraydarian said, the officers’ continuous interaction with Liberians is critical to the success of the mission’s mandate in Liberia, urging them to remain steadfast. “We are at the most critical component of the process of DDRR, therefore, we must serve together; you have earned it, well done.” He told the honored officers that the decoration of the medals on them was against the backdrop of having met the prerequisite.

Earlier, UNMIL Force Commander, Lt./Gen. Daniel Opande on behalf of his honored colleagues said, the medal itself is a special one to honor peacekeepers - especially officers who have worked tirelessly and diligently in monitoring and verifying ceasefire violations.

Taking a retrospective outlook of the top military officers, FC Opande observed that his Deputy, Maj./Gen. Joseph Owonibe “has been one of the pillars for the success of this mission, including all officers and sector commanders for the exemplary role played.” He also commended the head of the mission, Amb. Jacques Paul Klein for his excellent performance in keeping the mission focused.

Both Force Commander Gen. Opande and DFC Owonibe were among the more than 300 military staff decorated. Currently, there are 14642 UNMIL troops present in Liberia - drawn from 49 contributing countries around the world.

© 2004: This article is copyrighted by the Forum newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.