March 30th, 2007 15:13 EST
Extending UN's Liberia mission
The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) for six more months while asking Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to report on plans to draw down the level of blue helmets there.
The decision was taken through a unanimously adopted resolution in which the Council recognized that significant challenges remain in the consolidation of Liberia`s post-conflict transition, including massive development and reconstruction needs, the reform of the judiciary, extension of the rule of law throughout the country, the development of the Liberian security forces and security architecture, and consolidation of State authority. "
The Secretary-General had sought a one-year extension of UNMIL, citing the fact that Liberia still faces significant reconstruction and development challenges arising from 14 years of civil strife. "
In its resolution, the Council requested Mr. Ban to present a detailed drawdown plan for the mission in his next report to the Council, scheduled for June, which should include specific recommendations on force levels and options. "
Liberia was called on to take steps towards achieving key benchmarks aimed at facilitating a phased, gradual consolidation, drawdown and withdrawal of UNMIL`s troop contingent, as the situation permits and without compromising " the country`s security.
UNMIL was established in 2003 to support Liberia`s ceasefire and peace process, and currently has over 15,200 uniformed personnel, along with around 500 international civilian personnel, almost 1,000 local staff and 220 UN Volunteers.