LIBERIA  – Open Briefing: “Third progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in Liberia” (S/2004/430)
Statement by Ambassador Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg  
Permanent Representative of Brazil to the UN

Security Council, New York, 03 June 2004

Mr. President,

I take this opportunity to heartily congratulate you on your assumption of the Presidency of the Security Council and to wish you much success in your term as our President.  I extend compliments to Ambassador Munir Akram for the very successful conduction of our work during the month of May, which was characterized by a highly demanding agenda.   

My delegation  welcomes both the presence and the important and encouraging statement of the Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia, His Excellency Mr. Charles Gyude Bryant. 

In addition, I express appreciation to Special Representative Jacques Klein for introducing the report of the Secretary-General and for the important work he has been carrying out as Head of UNMIL.

Mr.President,

My delegation welcomes the progress so far achieved in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed at Accra, in August 2003.  

The present report lists a number of positive developments that have taken place within the period under review: improved conditions for the delivery of humanitarian assistance and for the beginning of national recovery; establishment of an interim national police force; progress in judicial reform and in the promotion of the rule of law throughout the country; empowerment of the Cabinet of the NTG, as well as the appointment of a new National Elections Commission and the development of legislation relating to the establishment of an Independent National Human Rights Commission and a Truth and Reconciliation Comission. 

UNMIL has been central in providing adequate security conditions for the implementation of the Accra Agreement.  We are very pleased to learn that UNMIL has successfully re-launched its DDRR program and that, since December 2003, 58 % of the anticipated number of combatants have been disarmed. It is particularly gratifying to know that an intensive public-information program has decisively contributed to this result. My delegation has always insisted on the relevance of public communication in complex operations, in particular that of radio broadcasting.

Notwithstanding, the Secretary-General’s report also takes due note of the low number of weapons being surrendered in the disarmament process.  We are concerned by information received from the Panel of Experts on Liberia that arms trafficking has not been dismantled and that factions could easily re-arm.

We believe that the complete deployment of UNMIL, as well as cooperation among peacekeeping operations in the region, can contribute to address this threat.  Furthermore, renewed efforts should be made to support ECOWAS in the implementation of its moratorium on small arms or in its transformation into a legally binding instrument.

As a matter of fact, in the light of the discussion held by the Council last week on ‘Complex Crises’, cooperation with ECOWAS in developing programs that could have an immediate social impact in Liberia should also be envisaged by the international community.

At present, greater attention should be devoted to job generation activities – through supporting both labor-intensive enterprises and individual economic initiatives.  Failure in providing economic alternatives may damage current efforts in  DDRR.

In this context, ECOSOC could have an important role to play in assisting the management of economic recovery; the experience gained in Burundi and Guinea-Bissau could be instrumental to this effect, as pointed out by its President, Ambassador Marjatta Rasi, last Friday.

Mr. President,

Our delegation welcomes the positive developments taking place as a result of the adoption of a regional approach by UNMIL, UNAMSIL, UNOCI and the Support Office in Guinea-Bissau in the implementation of their mandates. It is also heartening to learn that the human rights situation in Liberia and access to humanitarian assistance have improved since March. The continuous training of law enforcement agents will contribute even further to that end.

Mr. President,

In closing, I would like to congratulate UNMIL and the National Transitional Government for progress now being achieved in Liberia and to appeal to donor countries to help the National Elections Commission in mobilizing material and human resources needed for the holding of Presidential and Parliamentary elections in October next year, as stipulated in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The risks involved in postponing democratic elections would be too high to be ignored.

Thank you.