Jacques Klein Warns Violators Of Liberian Peace Accord

By: J. Moses Gray


The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted October 3, 2003

In the aftermath of Wednesday’s shooting episode at the ‘Red-light’ suburb of Paynesville, UN Secretary General’s special representative to Liberia, Mr. Jacques Paul Klein has warned violators of the recently signed comprehensive Accra Peace Accord on Liberia that "time is running out for them".

The outspoken UN envoy without mincing words stressed that justice will definitely prevail in Liberia, and reiterated that, "no violators of the peace agreement will go unpunished".

Speaking last Wednesday at a brief but elaborate ceremony held at the Roberts International Airport to mark the re-hatting of ECOMIL vanguard force as UN peace keepers ( UNMIL) in Liberia, Mr. Klein said it will be idiotic for anyone to challenge the strong 15,000 UN force, backed by gun-ship helicopters and aircrafts.

"The groups involved in the ‘Red-light’ episode have embarrassed themselves", Mr. Klein disclosed, noting that they have violated the peace accord signed by all of the belligerent forces. And continued, "they have to face justice!"

However, investigations are yet to be concluded on the ugly incident, the high command of ECOMIL which was in charge of security, has blamed militiamen of the Liberian government and fighters of LURD.

Brigadier-General Festus Okonkwo, the former Force Commander of the sub regional contingent of UN peace-keepers told international and local journalists at a news conference held at the RIA that his men were able to immediately separate the two opposing forces during the fighting.

Also addressing the news conference, the UN envoy, Mr. Klein who had just arrived from headquarters in New York, said his trip was a successful one, adding that the UN Security Council has approved a strong mandate for UNMIL in Liberia.

He said the Security Council has approved a 15,000 strong force, 250 military Observers, 1100 international police force and 160 staff officers.

According to him, it would take two to three months to get the entire 15,000 UNMIL force to Liberia and disclosed that several countries have committed themselves to sending troops to Liberia to join the peacekeeping force.

The UN Secretary-General’s special envoy told journalists that UNMIL needs US$280 million to get the country to its pre-war status, noting that within a period of 90 days he will be going back to meet the Security Council.

"I spoke with Chairman Gyude Bryant via mobile phone, and I will be taking him to the UN when I am going back", Mr.Klein added.

The UN official said the Nigerian contingent of UNMIL will remain in Monrovia because as he put it, the capital is the focus.

According to Mr.Klein, Wednesday’s ceremonies mark a new beginning for Liberia and its people and the start of the process in which peace and security will be restored throughout the country with the deployment of up to 15,000 UNMIL over the coming months.

He said with the planned presence of UNMIL throughout Liberia, security will be alright and the delivery of desperately needed humanitarian assistance will be facilitated, alleviating the suffering of hundreds of Liberians.

He said the attainment of peace and security is the necessary prerequisite for the rebuilding of the Liberian economy, a process’ which will require the strong support of international donors and investors.

"For our mission to be successful, we count on the support of each and every Liberian", Mr. Klein noted.

Concluding, the UN envoy commended the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, ECOWAS , EU, US Government for being the brains behind the new mandate just approved by the UN.

Meanwhile, during the ceremony, the president of Liberia, Moses Blah was conspicuously absent and there was no official representative of his at the well-organized occasion. The program had to be delayed for some minutes in anticipation of his arrival which did not materialize.

© 2003: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.