Liberians Welcome Deployment of 15,000 UN Peace-keeping Force
The United Nations Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution establishing a 15,000 strong stabilization force for Liberia to assist with the smooth implementation of the peace process.
Under the resolution 1509, the UN Security Council has also resolved that the UN mission in Liberia will also consist of up to 1,115 police officers along with a civilian component. The military personnel will include 250 military observers and 160 staff officers.
The resolution has requested the UN Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan, to transfer authority to the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) on October 1st, 2003 from forces of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which have completed their deployment in the country.
According to the resolution, the mandate of UNMIL is established for a period of 12 months in addition to support for the cease-fire and the peace process.
The mandate will also include protection of United Nations staff and civilians as well as support for humanitarian and human rights initiatives.
UNMIL will further be charged with the mandate of observing and monitoring the implementation of the Cease-fire Agreement as well as to investigate violations of the cease-fire.
The resolution also said UNMIL will establish and maintain continuous liaison with the field headquarters of all the parties’ military forces as well as to assist with the development of cantonment sites and to provide security at these sites.
Under the resolution, UNMIL will also observe and monitor disengagement and cantonment of military forces of all the parties to the conflict.
In adopting the resolution which established UNMIL, the UN Security Council in addition, called on all parties to pay special attention to gender issues and the protection of children.
In particular, the resolution called on all parties to respect the ceasefire, stop the use of child soldiers and ensure that the peace agreement is implemented immediately so as to ensure the peaceful formation of the transitional government by October 14th, 2003.
In keeping with the agreement, the current ECOWAS troops in the country, will form part of the UNMIL forces that is expected to take over by October 1.
The resolution did not name any country that will contribute troops to the UNMIL forces, but reports said the troops are expected to be drawn from Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Africa among others.