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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2003 > October
Press Statement
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
October 1, 2003


UN Peacekeeping Mission in Liberia Begins Operations

2003/997

The United States welcomes the first day of operations of the new UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), created by Security Council Resolution 1509. The Mission will monitor and implement the cease-fire and comprehensive peace agreement, helping to restore peace to Liberia and eliminate a continuing source of instability throughout the West African region. The Mission will rapidly take the necessary steps to assist in the disarmament and demobilization of combatants from all armed groups. It will also play a key role in assisting international and non-governmental organizations to deliver needed humanitarian aid to the Liberian people, and will assist the transitional government in reestablishing national authority and in preparing for national elections.

We appreciate the hard work of the UN Secretary-General and his Special Representative, Jacques Klein, in ensuring that this operation was up and running by October 1. We also applaud the leadership of ECOWAS in its efforts to bring peace to Liberia, as well as the ECOWAS-led force, ECOMIL, for its indispensable contribution in laying the groundwork for the UN Mission.

The UN Mission, which takes over from ECOMIL today, October 1, has a one-year mandate and may comprise up to 15,000 military personnel, including up to 1,115 civilian police officers, as well as a substantial number of staff officers, military observers and civilian advisors. When fully deployed, this force will constitute the UNís largest current peacekeeping operation. The United States is committed to its success. We have provided nearly $26 million in contracted logistics support and equipment to support ECOMIL forces, who will make up the first contingent of the new UN mission, in their interim peacekeeping role in Liberia. In addition, the United States expects to send nine officers, both headquarters staff and military observers, to participate in the operation.

Released on October 1, 2003

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