21 September 2005
Security Council Extends UN Mission in Liberia Until 31 March 2006, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 1626 (2005)
250 UNMIL Troops to Deploy to Sierra Leone to Provide Security for Special Court after UN Mission's Departure
(Delayed for technical reasons, issued on 20 September.)
NEW YORK, 19 September (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council today, extending the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) until 31 March 2006, authorized the Mission to deploy from November up to 250 United Nations military personnel to Sierra Leone to provide a continuing international security presence for the Special Court there, after the departure of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) on 31 December.
Acting under Chapter VII and unanimously adopting resolution 1626 (2005), the Council also authorized a temporary increase in UNMIL's personnel ceiling to a total of 15,250 military personnel, from 15 November to 31 March 2006 to ensure that the support provided to the Court in Sierra Leone did not reduce UNMIL's capabilities in Liberia during its period of political transition.
The Council further authorized UNMIL, subjected along with the above provisions to the consent of troop-contributing countries and the Sierra Leonean Government, to deploy an adequate number of military personnel to Sierra Leone, if and when needed, to evacuate those UNMIL military personnel temporary deployed to Sierra Leone, as well as officials of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, in the event of a serious security crisis affecting those personnel and the Court.
Further to the text, the Council requested the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL), once established, to provide logistical support for UNMIL's military personnel deployed to that country.
In a related provision, the Council asked the Secretary-General and the Sierra Leonean Government to conclude an agreement regarding the status of military personnel of UNMIL deployed to Sierra Leone, taking into account the relevant existing legal instruments. Pending the conclusion of such an agreement, the model status-of-forces agreement of 9 October 1990 would apply provisionally.
The Council supported the Secretary-General's recommendation to return to the ceiling of United Nations military personnel in UNMIL, as authorized in resolution 1509 (2003), by 31 March 2006.
It encouraged the Missions in the region to continue to enhance inter-mission cooperation, especially with regard to the prevention of cross-border movement of arms, combatants and the illicit exploitation of natural resources and in the implementation of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes.
The meeting began at 12:05 p.m. and was adjourned at 12:08 p.m.
The full text of resolution 1626 (2005) reads, as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Recalling its previous resolutions and statements by its President concerning the situations in Liberia and Sierra Leone, in particular its resolutions 1509 (2003) of 19 September 2003, 1610 (2005) of 30 June 2005 and 1620 (2005) of 31 August 2005,
"Welcoming the Secretary-General's report of 1 September 2005 (S/2005/560),
"Welcoming progress made in the preparations for the October presidential and legislative elections,
"Welcoming the further extension of State authority, including progress in the establishment of a new Liberian police service and the appointment of new judges and magistrates,
"Expressing appreciation for the indispensable and continuing contributions to the Liberian peace progress by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU), and for financial and other assistance provided by the international community,
"Welcoming the signing by the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NGTL) and the International Contact Group of Liberia of the Governance and Economic Management Assistance Program (GEMAP) which is designed to ensure prompt implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and to expedite the lifting of measures imposed by resolution 1521 (2003),
"Reiterating its appreciation for the essential work of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and its vital contributions to the establishment of the rule of law in Sierra Leone and the subregion and encouraging all States to cooperate fully with the Court as it implements its completion strategy,
"Noting that the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) is scheduled to end its operations on 31 December 2005,
"Recalling the briefing to the Security Council by the President of the Special Court for Sierra Leone on 24 May 2005 in which he stressed the need for a continuing international security presence to provide protection for the Special Court after the departure of UNAMSIL, and welcoming the Secretary-General's recommendations in this regard,
"Determining that the situation in Liberia continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,
"Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
"1. Decides that the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) shall be extended until 31 March 2006;
"2. Calls on all Liberian parties to demonstrate their full commitment to a democratic process of government by ensuring that the upcoming presidential and legislative elections are peaceful, transparent, free and fair;
"3. Calls on the international community to respond to continuing needs for resources for the rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-combatants and for security sector reform;
"4. Looks forward to the implementation of GEMAP by the NTGL and succeeding governments of Liberia in collaboration with their international partners, and requests the Secretary-General to include information on the progress of this implementation in his regular reports on UNMIL;
"5. Authorizes UNMIL, subject to the consent of the troop-contributing countries concerned and the Government of Sierra Leone, to deploy from November 2005 up to 250 United Nations military personnel to Sierra Leone to provide security for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, as recommended in paragraphs 90 to 94 of the Secretary-General's report of 1 September 2005 (S/2005/560);
"6. Authorizes a temporary increase in UNMIL's personnel ceiling, to a total of 15,250 United Nations military personnel, for the period from 15 November 2005 to 31 March 2006 in order to ensure that the support provided to the Court does not reduce UNMIL's capabilities in Liberia during its political transition period;
"7. Further authorizes UNMIL, subject to the consent of troop-contributing countries concerned and of the Government of Sierra Leone, to deploy an adequate number of military personnel to Sierra Leone, if and when needed, to evacuate UNMIL military personnel deployed to Sierra Leone pursuant to paragraph 5 of this resolution and officials of the Special Court for Sierra Leone in the event of a serious security crisis affecting those personnel and the Court;
"8. Requests the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL), once established, to assist in providing logistic support for UNMIL military personnel deployed to Sierra Leone pursuant to this resolution;
"9. Requests the Secretary-General and the Government of Sierra Leone to conclude an agreement regarding the status of military personnel of UNMIL deployed to Sierra Leone pursuant to this resolution, taking into account General Assembly resolution 59/47 on the scope of legal protection under the Convention on the Safety and Security of United Nations and Associated Personnel, and decides that, pending the conclusion of such an agreement, the model status-of-forces agreement dated 9 October 1990 (A/45/594) shall apply provisionally;
"10. Supports the Secretary-General's recommendation to return to the ceiling of United Nations military personnel authorized in resolution 1509 (2003) by 31 March 2006;
"11. Encourages the United Nations missions in the region, within their capabilities and areas of deployment and without prejudice to their mandates, to continue their efforts toward enhancing intermission cooperation, especially with regard to the prevention of cross-border movement of arms, combatants and the illicit exploitation of natural resources and in the implementation of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes;
"12. Welcomes the efforts undertaken by UNMIL to implement the Secretary-General's zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and to ensure full compliance of its personnel with the United Nations code of conduct, and requests the Secretary-General to take all necessary action in this regard and to keep the Security Council informed, and urges troop-contributing countries to take appropriate preventive action, including the conduct of predeployment awareness training, and to take disciplinary action and other action to ensure that allegations of sexual exploitation or abuse against their personnel are properly investigated and, if substantiated, punished;
"13. Requests the Secretary-General to provide recommendations on a drawdown plan for UNMIL, including specific benchmarks and a tentative schedule, in his March 2006 report;
"14. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to keep the Council regularly informed on UNMIL's progress with the implementation of its mandate;
"15. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."
For its consideration of the situation in Liberia, the Security Council had before it the eighth progress report of the Secretary-General (document S/2005/560), in which he says that the steady progress in the preparations for the October national elections has been most encouraging. Given the many challenges still facing the peace process, however, he recommends an extension of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) for another year, until 19 September 2006.
He also recommends the temporary deployment of a company-size force of up to 250 military personnel from UNMIL to the Special Court in Sierra Leone by 15 November, given that the operations of the United Nations Mission there are scheduled to end on 31 December 2005.
Although Liberia has made great steps in consolidating peace and in implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the peace process still faces many challenges, the report notes. The UNMIL is now moving towards a new phase of its operations which will focus on the conduct of free and fair elections in October, as well as the provision of security during elections and in the run-up to the installation of the new Government in January 2006.
According to the report, the Mission will continue to work towards: the rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-combatants; the restoration of State administration nationwide; the strengthening of rule of law institutions and the restructuring of the security sector; and the promotion of recovery and reconstruction.
The Secretary-General, meanwhile, commends the Liberian people for their determination to participate in the polls, as demonstrated by the large numbers who have registered to vote, and also the peaceful manner in which the electoral process has been conducted so far. The National Elections Commission should also be commended for its role in ensuring that the process has remained on track. The technical and material support provided by the international partners has been vital in ensuring the Commission's effective functioning. The political parties, the candidates and their supporters now need to ensure that the campaigns are conducted peaceably and freely in all areas of the country, and that the voters can participate in credible polls conducted without any threat of violence.
He says that the strides made towards reforming the security sector, particularly the training of the new police service, are also encouraging. The Transitional Government has made a significant contribution to this programme by ensuring regular and improved salary payments for the police officers and for approving the new rank structure and uniforms policy. The Government, however, should redouble its efforts to raise the requisite funds for the demobilization of security personnel who are not eligible to join the restructured services and for the decommissioning of the former Armed Forces of Liberia personnel.
The Secretary-General urges donors to give urgent consideration to assisting the Transitional Government to ensure that progress can be made in this very important area. The Government also needs urgent support from its international partners to equip the new police service and to rebuild the police infrastructure in the counties so that progress in strengthening the police force can continue.
The reintegration of former combatants still faces a significant funding shortfall, the report states. The completion of an effective reintegration programme is vital to combat the serious problems of re-recruitment of fighters, illegal exploitation of natural resources and the widespread and high incidence of violent crime. It is also an essential element in ensuring that the vicious cycle of conflict is finally broken so that durable stability can be restored both in Liberia and within the wider West African subregion. The Secretary-General, therefore, appeals to the donor community to assist in closing the funding gap of approximately $18.5 million for reintegration and also to provide the additional $7 million needed so that those ex-combatants who have opted for formal education can continue with their schooling for two further academic years.
Improving economic governance is also essential for consolidating peace and ensuring sustainable development in Liberia, the report states. Regrettably, protracted delays have been encountered in the process of consultations between the Transitional Government and international partners on the proposed governance and economic management assistance programme. This document must be finalized as soon as possible, as the programme is an important tool for strengthening Liberia's national sovereignty, ensuring the Government's control over its revenues and expenditures, and as a means to create a long-term revenue-generating base for the country's development. Its effective implementation would greatly contribute to Liberia's national recovery efforts and would help Liberia to meet the requirements for the lifting of the sanctions imposed on it by the Council in resolution 1521 (2003).
Furthermore, improved economic governance would also ensure that the country retains the confidence of donors who have already been generous in their provision of assistance. The Secretary-General, therefore, strongly urges the Transitional Government to work closely with international partners to reach an early agreement on the programme, so that it could be presented for the Council's consideration and put into operation with minimum delay.
The report notes that the transitional process prescribed by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, signed by the Liberian parties in Accra in August 2003, comes to a conclusion with the inauguration of the newly elected Government in January 2006. Liberians are faced with a unique opportunity to build on the gains made so far during the transition and move towards a new era of sustained stability, national reconstruction and recovery. The success of this process will depend largely on the Liberian people and their leaders. It will also depend on the full and sustained engagement of donors.
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