President George M Weah has praised members of the Armed Forces of Liberia after completion of 10 years of peace keeping mission in Mali.
President Weah speaking at the Barclay Training Center in Monrovia at program making the end of Mission Ceremony said, “Today we commemorate the successful end of the mission of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) in the UN Multidimensional Integration Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).”
Members of the New AFL was inducted into the Peace Support Operations on the 23rd of June 2013, as part of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali, which later morphed into the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), on July 1, 2013 under UN Resolution 2100.
He told the gathering that the just ended mission was Liberia’s first Peacekeeping operations following the end of the civil war and comes more than five decades after the country’s first involvement in UN Peacekeeping in the Congo.
“I am told our Armed Forces began its Mali Operations with a platoon-size, which grew in strength and capabilities over a period with additional deployments” he said.
The Liberian leader said because of the efforts, “we must recognize the effort of our previous Commander-in -Chief, as well as the leadership of the AFL, past and present, for ensuring that our nation can contribute to the resolution of conflicts in our region. I must also appreciate the contributions of our partners and allies, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Nigeria, for helping us achieve this milestone.”
President Weah said Mali’s mission is a testament to the collective resolve of peace-loving Nations around the world who were willing to sacrifice material and human resources in order to put out the flames engulfing their neighbor’s house.
“We must therefore honor the brave and dedicated men and women of the Armed Forces of Liberia present here today, and all those helping to keep our nation safe” he passionately said.
He added that it is his aspiration that the AFL will continuously be committed to this responsibility, while also ensuring International Peace indicating, “ I have no doubt, following your remarkable achievement in Mali – both at the level of the troops and as Military Staff Officers – that you are on the path to greatness in international peacekeeping.”
The President praised the man and women in arms resilience stating that it were not only tested in the fields of harsh arid climate, but also withstood two waves of infectious disease outbreaks – Ebola and Covid.
“We are glad our contingent did not record a death during these outbreaks. I wish to inform you that with the support of the Central Government, the AFL has been gradually meeting the various logistical and operational requirements of the UN.”
He said his government has in the Liberia National Budget for Fiscal Year 2022 approved an initial amount of Seven Hundred Thousand United States Dollars ($700,000.00) and provided the same to the Ministry of National Defense to support the troops deployed in Peace Support Operations.
President Weah paid a special tribute to fallen personnel, in person of Sergeant Ousman Sheriff, and all others who were wounded in Mali.
“Join me in observing a moment of silence in their honor” President Weah told the gathering.
“You are now the beacon of hope not only for Liberia, but the region and beyond. Continue to Be of Service” the Liberian leader said.
The colorful program saw the parading of members of the AFL as they were all praised for their stewardship to the nation and its people.