16 September 2011 - Security Council - Liberia/UNMIL - Explanation of vote by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
My delegation voted in favour of the draft resolution because, naturally, we support the extension of the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). We support UNMIL’s work in Liberia, which is particularly necessary as the elections approach. We think a mid- and long-term presence of the United Nations in Liberia is necessary to complete the peacebuilding work that has been successfully conducted in that country.
We call on Liberia to redouble its efforts during the transition process to achieve an effective transfer of UNMIL tasks to the national authorities, particularly in the sphere of security. Moreover, the Security Councilmust responsibly manage the peacekeeping missions that it mandates. The missions must be adapted to the needs of the countries in which they operate. UNMIL, in a country that has been at peace for nearly eight years, is no exception to that principle of good management.
Also at stake is the capacity of the Security Council to respond to new theatres of conflict that are emerging elsewhere on the continent, such as in the Sudan, which require more Blue Helmets, more logistical support and more financing. It is important to regularly review all of our missions and to be able to adapt them, both at the top and the bottom, so as to make best use of our not unlimited resources. For that reason, we fully support the Secretary-General’s recommendation, contained in paragraph 73 of his twenty-third progress report on UNMIL (S/2011/497), for a thorough review of UNMIL, its mandate, its configuration and its military and police strength by 31 May 2012 at the latest, based on the Secretariat’s proposals that are expected on 30 April 2012 at the latest. This point could have figured in the new UNMIL mandate.
When the elections are over and the President is inaugurated, we call on the Secretariat to immediately send a team to Liberia to conduct, as the Secretary- General himself suggested, a review of UNMIL’s format. The Security Council will then have to take action on this issue in the weeks following the receipt of the proposals, between now and the end of May 2012. We hope that the major progress achieved by Liberia will permit the withdrawal of UNMIL’s military component.