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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 September, 2003, 20:20 GMT 21:20 UK
UN urges aid for Liberia

By Greg Barrow
BBC correspondent at the United Nations

The UN Secretary General's special representative to Liberia, Jacques Klein, has urged the international community to commit the resources and personnel necessary to help the people of Liberia rebuild their country.

Mr Klein told Security Council members that while the international community must provide the resources, there must also be a partnership with the Liberian people to end conflict and rebuild their shattered nation.

He spoke of the need for what he called a credible UN force, with well-trained and fully equipped troops that would be expected to carry out difficult tasks, such as securing the Liberian capital, Monrovia, and other major towns.

Liberian children displaced by fighting huddle together in camp
Without justice Liberia cannot bring this dark past to closure and look to a brighter future
UN special envoy
Jacques Klein

The UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, has suggested that the force should be at least 15,000 strong.

This request already has the support of the United States, which has circulated a draft resolution that could be voted through as early as the end of this week.

Mr Klein said that one of the primary tasks of the new peacekeeping force would be to bring justice to the people of Liberia.

"Without justice there can be no healing. Without justice those who believe that they can act with impunity will be tempted to do so again," he said.

"Without justice Liberia cannot bring this dark past to closure and look to a brighter future.

African experience

Ultimately, if you do not punish the guilty, you cannot absolve the innocent, Mr Klein said.

A major challenge will be to disarm and demobilise the estimated 30,000 armed combatants in Liberia - many of these are children.

Mr Klein said the UN could draw on its experience in other African nations, like Mozambique and Sierra Leone, to ensure this process runs smoothly.

Peacekeepers reach Liberian port
14 Sep 03  |  Africa
Mercy mission to Liberian city
16 Sep 03  |  Africa


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