Posted by: africanpressorganization | 23 August 2010

UN Envoy commends military officers for assisting Liberians pursue peaceful dialogue, the way of the future





UN Envoy commends military officers for assisting Liberians pursue peaceful dialogue, the way of the future



MONROVIA, Liberia, August 23, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — UN Envoy Ellen Margrethe Løj has described the role of Staff Officers and Military Observers “crucial” as the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) prepares to support the Liberian Government in its 2011 general and presidential elections. She made this statement today when she awarded UN peacekeeping medals to these 76 senior military officers (24 Staff Officers and 52 Military Observers) from 26 different countries for their “valuable contributions” to Liberia’s peace process.


“We know that you will rise to all the challenges; we know that no matter what, you will redouble your efforts, strength and determination to support as best you can,” Ms. Løj told the UNMIL senior military officers. She reminded them of the quality of service they provided during the recent by-elections in River Gee County, which is proof of their unwavering strength and ability. Expressing optimism that with the help of Staff Officers and Military Observers and all the components of the Mission, the UN Envoy said UNMIL shall continue to strive to do its utmost for the Liberian people. She commended the pivotal role played by these senior military officers in demonstrating to Liberians that “peaceful dialogue is the way of the future.”


The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) assured that UNMIL and the international community are fully committed to supporting the electoral and democratic processes in the country – along with its reconstruction, recovery and development. Ms. Løj however spoke of the importance of the role expected to be played by Liberians, aimed at ensuring a peaceful and prosperous future for Liberia through the smooth conduct of the 2011 elections.


“Let me also underline that the 2011 elections in Liberia will be run and implemented by Liberians, for the people of Liberia and to ensure a peaceful and prosperous future for Liberia,” the SRSG emphasized.


Staff Officers are deployed at various offices at Force Headquarters and assist the Force Commander in formulating the concept of operations and play a major role in ensuring its successful execution. They also carry out their duties quietly behind the scenes, and the impact of their work is felt throughout the Mission. Their support comes in various activities, including personnel administration, military operations and logistics, civil military operation and public information, IT communication and engineering, medical assistance, legal and military justice, and others.


UNMIL Military Observers are considered the “eyes and ears” of the Mission. They carry out round-the-clock patrols. Their duties often entail working under very difficult environmental conditions as they travel to remote areas throughout the country to obtain vital information for the smooth operation of the Mission. In an effort to gather the information firsthand, they have to interact with the local population and gain their trust – tasks that require humility, respect and diplomacy. Gathered information enables the Mission to provide appropriate mentoring support to the Government, particularly in the implementation of its poverty reduction strategy. They demonstrate that they are true ambassadors of the United Nations and their countries.


Attending the ceremony were UNMIL Force Commander, Lt. Gen. Sikander Afzal; UN Police Commissioner, Mr. Gautam Sawang; Director of Mission Support, Mr. Hubert Price; UNMIL Military Chief of Staff, Brig. Gen. Raphael I. Isa; Sector commanders and other senior UNMIL Military officials.





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