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Sirleaf: Liberia Will not Destabilize its Neighbors

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf addresses the 67th session of the UN General Assembly
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says she will never allow her country to be used to destabilize neighboring countries.

Speaking Wednesday at the 67th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, President Sirleaf condemned all attempts to undermine what she called the peace and democratic gains in neighboring Cote d’Ivoire.

“As current chair of the four-nation Mano River Union comprising Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and La Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia has committed itself never to allow an inch of its territory to be used to destabilized its neighbors,” she said.

President Sirleaf called on other West African leaders to work together so that individuals intent on destabilizing the region or parts of it are treated as enemies in all parts of West Africa.

She condemned what she called the unconstitutional unraveling of democratic governments in Mali and Guinea-Bissau earlier this year.

The Liberian leader called on the U.N. Security Council to buttress efforts by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to restore peace in the sub-region.

“Liberia endorses the decisions of ECOWAS aimed at the full restoration of constitutional order in both countries in the shortest periods of time. Liberia enjoins the world community, particularly the Security Council to buttress the efforts of ECOWAS in restoring peace in our region, most especially in Mali,” Sirleaf said.

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Seizing on the theme of the 67th session of the U.N. General Assembly which calls for settlement of disputes by peaceful means, President Sirleaf said her government has formulated a roadmap for national reconciliation to ensure that peace in Liberia is sustainable.

“In an environment of peace, we have prioritized actions aimed at re-establishing the rule of law by building the capacity of our institutions and processes for delivery of justice and security. We have formulated a roadmap for national reconciliation to ensure that peace is sustainable,” she said.

But critics say President Sirleaf’s comments were simply intended to please world leaders and Liberia’s donor partners because, they say, her government’s policies on the ground are contributing to disunity rather than reconciliation. They cite the lack of a national reconciliation effort.