[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 2 May, 2005, 00:54 GMT 01:54 UK
UN Liberia envoy bemoans mandate
By Mark Doyle
BBC News, Monrovia

UN peacekeeper in Monrovia
Peacekeepers have helped to restore stability to Liberia
The UN's peacekeeping force in Liberia would have made more progress with a stronger mandate, its outgoing head of mission says.

Jacques Klein says he would have argued for the UN to take temporary charge of running the Liberian government.

Mr Klein's mission, which grew into the largest UN peacekeeping operation in the world, began in October 2003.

He has recommended to UN bosses that the mission in Liberia remains in place until at least the end of 2006.

Big American

His successor has not yet been named. Mr Klein has been a high profile UN boss. He is a big American who smokes big cigars.

Early on in the mission, he paraded his troops through the streets of Monrovia.

This display was designed to tell the Liberian warlords in Mr Klein's own words: "Don't screw with us. We have more firepower than you do."

A senior UN staff member here described Mr Klein to me as a "bully" but most Liberians seem to think the UN needed a tough, no-nonsense operator.

In his last interview before leaving his post, Mr Klein told me he would have argued for a much tougher mandate in Liberia with the UN taking over the government of the country for a temporary period.

This was not done, Mr Klein said, because it would have been perceived by some as politically incorrect.

"Racist, colonialist etc, and I understand that," he says.

"So that limits us, but even, as I said, very senior people said had you done that we would be light years ahead of where we are."

The legacy of Mr Klein's time in Liberia is mixed. After 25 years of mayhem and civil war, the country is at peace - a very major achievement.

But some of the fundamental causes of the war such as government corruption have not been successfully addressed.

Liberian anti-corruption activists say that without a truly accountable and honest administration, instability could one day return here.


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific