Briefing and Consultations on Liberia
A number of Council meetings related to the UN mission in Liberia (UNMIL) are expected to take place this week. Tomorrow morning (13 September), the Council will be briefed by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Liberia, Ellen Margrethe Løj, on the latest developments in Liberia. This will be followed by Council consultations to discuss a draft resolution, circulated late last week, renewing UNMIL’s mandate. On Thursday 15 September, the Council is scheduled to adopt a resolution extending the mandate beyond 30 September.
There appears to be consensus in the Council that the general elections next month are a key benchmark for progress and that decisions on the transition of security responsibilities to Liberia should wait until after the new government’s inauguration. However, it seems that a few members prefer a new mandate for eight months believing that a shorter time frame may encourage Liberia to accelerate internal security and political arrangements allowing UNMIL to withdraw sooner rather than later (UNMIL has been in Liberia since 2003, and still maintains significant troop and police presence.) A number of other Council members seem to prefer a full extension of the mandate to 12 months.
In his most recent report on UNMIL, the Secretary-General recommended maintaining the mission’s military and police authorisations at current levels until after the October elections. The report also recommended a review by 30 May 2012 based on the findings of a technical assessment mission to be conducted following the inauguration of the new government.
A key Council decision is likely to be the redeployment of helicopters and police personnel from the Côte d’Ivoire mission to Liberia ahead of the elections. Council members expect a letter from the Secretary-General on this issue in the coming weeks.