The Security Council has extended the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) until September 30 next year as well as authorising a reduction in personnel.
This is in anticipation of continuing preparations for the security transition to the Liberian authorities next year.
UNMIL came into being in September 2003 to support implementation of the ceasefire agreement and peace process in the country, as well as to assist in security reform including police training and the formation of a new, restructured military.
A UN statement said the Security Council “affirms its expectation that the government of Liberia will fully assume its complete security responsibilities from UNMIL no later than June 30, 2016”.
In his latest report on UNMIL, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted it will be a “historic moment” when the Liberian government assumes all its security responsibilities from the Mission.
“It will be an important milestone, a demonstration of confidence that the country has turned the corner from conflict, disorder and dependence to a future of sustained peace, unity and independence,” he wrote.
While welcoming progress made to date with support from UNMIL and other partners, Ban noted challenges remain that will require additional assistance on all fronts in order to complete the transition by June 30, 2016.
“All stakeholders must sustain their focus on implementing the ambitious transition plan developed by Government and also on the national reconciliation and continuing political reforms essential for consolidating peace,” he stated.
The Security Council also decided the mandate of UNMIL will be the protection of civilians; reform of justice and security institutions; human rights promotion and protection and protection of UN personnel. It also decided UNMIL will put “renewed focus” on supporting the Government to achieve a successful security transition.
It was also decided the Mission’s authorised military and police strength will be decreased by June 30, 2016 by 3,260 personnel.
The Council also affirmed its intention to consider the possible withdrawal of UNMIL and transition to a future UN presence to continue to assist the Government to consolidate peace and, in this regard, requested the Secretary-General to conduct an assessment mission in order to provide recommendations to the Council by November 15, 2016.