The UN Security Council is in Liberia, the last stop on its
four-nation visit to Africa to assess peacekeeping missions. The visit
to Monrovia is a show of support for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
15 UN Security Council ambassadors arrived in Monrovia Tuesday night to
examine the progress made since 2005, when Liberia elected Africa's
first woman president. Ms. Johnson-Sirleaf, a Harvard-trained
economist, is trying to revive the failed state she inherited after 14
years of civil war and the misrule of former president Charles Taylor.
U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice is leading the Security Council delegation.
Speaking to VOA on the flight into Monrovia, Rice said Liberia under
President Johnson -Sirleaf is no longer a failed state, but is still a
"It's fragile because the region remains relatively
unstable," Rice noted. "Fragile because of armed groups operating
outside the territory of Liberia, and because of the high rate of
unemployment, former combatants who haven't found alternative
livelihoods and haven't been reintegrated into society, and that's all
been exacerbated by the global food crisis and financial crisis."
UN is assessing progress
says ambassadors are assessing progress ahead of Security Council
decision due later this year on extending the life of the country's UN
peacekeeping mission UNMIL. She says UNMIL's mandate is likely to be
extended until after Liberia's 2011 presidential election.
will be the second democratic election following that which brought
President Sirleaf to power in 2005," she said. "Everybody is of the
view that this election is a critical milestone to help consolidate
democratic progress, and UNMIL will continue to be present through that
time frame, we expect."
Largest peacekeeping operation is in DRC
Tuesday, the Security Council visited
the Congolese capital, Kinshasa, to discuss the future of the largest
UN peacekeeping mission. The 17,000 strong force known as MONUC is
currently engaged in joint military operations with the Congolese army,
which is accused of war crimes against civilians.
met DRC President Joseph Kabila and Prime Minister Adolf Muzito to
present a list of five suspected war criminals currently on active duty
in the Congolese army. France's UN ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert said
the Congolese leaders had promised to investigate charges against the
Human Rights Watch this week charged Congolese soldiers of
crimes including rape an murder. The government called the accusations
Joint mission aims to drive out Rwandan rebels
MONUC recently joined forces with the Congolese army,
known as the FARDC, this year in an ongoing campaign to drive out
Rwandan rebels operating in the remote mountainous eastern DRC region.
and Security Council ambassadors have expressed misgivings about
working alongside suspected war criminals. But they say it is the best
chance for defeating the Rwandan rebels, who are accused of widespread
atrocities during a 15-year insurgency that began when they fled into
the DRC after the 1994 Rwandan genocide.