Liberia Broadcasting System

Troop movement to Mali receives boost

By Jos Garneo Cephas
Defense Minister,   Brownie Samukai and  ECOWAS' caretaker 
Chief of Staff of the  AFL, Major General Suraj Alao Abdurahman
Defense Minister, Brownie Samukai and ECOWAS' caretaker Chief of Staff of the AFL, Major General Suraj Alao Abdurahman

(lbsonline/Liberia)-The decision of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to send a platoon of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) for peace-keeping in Mali has received a boost from majority of Liberians, abroad and at home.

But for the Liberian Chief Executive’s decision, it  will have to meet an approval of  the  House of Legislature  before the movement of the AFL troop to Mali in forming part of the ECOWAS Peace-keeper troops.

Until a take-off of the 46-man military contingent, an ensuing debate is on-going among law makers to concur with the nation’s Commander-In-Chief.

The news of Liberia’s representation in the Republic of Mali has been in the center of discussion among Liberians of all walks of life both in the media and street corners.

Following the debate from all quarters several citizens agreed for their nation to be among  ECOWAS countries to help their neighbor because according to some of  analysis, peace in West Africa is cardinal to Liberia.

Liberia’s decision to militarily be represented in Mali  was reached at a special ECOWAS Summit held Saturday January 19, 2013 in La cote d’Ivoir, where the Commander-In-Chief of Liberia, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf represented the country.

President Sirleaf defending her decision said: “to send Liberian Peace-Keepers to Mali is to show solidarity to the Malian people”, the Liberian Leader said.

“The decision is also aimed at showing appreciation to all countries, including Mali, who assisted Liberia during its 15 years of conflict”.

President Sirleaf said: “The offer was gladly received by ECOWAS and the Malian People”.
“Details of the Liberian troop’s departure will be finalized by the Defense, Foreign and other line ministries, and agencies of government”, the Liberian Leader ensures.
During the summit, there was report of progress on the Guinea Bissau crisis and that the dialogue for peace and democratic elections are rapidly progressing”, she also said.

The Liberian leader said: “Most of the West African countries have endorsed the decision to sent troops to Mali to protect the territorial integrity of the country’s northern region and promote democracy in the West African nation”.

“Donor countries and international organizations, including the African Union, who also participated in the summit, focused on Mali and Guinea Bissau. They have pledged their support to France’s intervention and the move by ECOWAS”, the President told reporters at the airport.

If all goes well, Liberia’s planned contribution to the Malian crisis at peace-keeping level will be the second to international peace-keeping duty.

The first was in Congo in the 1960s, when Liberia contributed to such international engagement in that African nation.



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