Friday, April 03, 2009

UNMIL Daily News

UNMIL Public Information Office Complete Media Summaries
3 April 2009

Newspaper Summary

(The Inquirer, New Democrat, National Chronicle)

· Addressing a news conference in Monrovia Thursday, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Liberia, Ellen Margrethe Løj reassured Liberians that the drawdown plan or scaling down of the UN’s peacekeeping operations in Liberia will proceed in a cautious and gradual manner to ensure that the gains made in consolidating peace in the country are not put at risk.
· In her recent report to the Security Council on UNMIL, SRSG Løj maintained that Liberia’s security situation was relatively stable, but still characterized by underlying fragility and needing to be monitored closely.
· The UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) is in the midst of the second phase of its drawdown during which troops levels are to be reduced by nearly 1,500, and further modifications could be made during the third and final segment which kicks off this September.

SRSG Løj Encourages Liberian Legislature to Pass Threshold Bill
(The Inquirer, New Democrat, National Chronicle)

· The Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Liberia, Ellen Margrethe Løj has warned that delay in the passage of the population Threshold Bill will affect the timetable of the 2011 elections in the country.
· Speaking during UNMIL press briefing yesterday, Ms. Løj said the forthcoming elections were crucial to the maintenance of peace in the country.

Supreme Court Issues Writ of Prohibition on Elections Commission
(The Analyst, The Inquirer, The Parrot)

· The Supreme Court has issued a writ of prohibition on the National Elections Commission (NEC).
· The writ bars the commission from further proceeding into the case involving some partisans of the opposition Liberia Party (LP) and its leadership.
· The prohibition grew out of a communication served the party by NEC calling on the LP to defer its planned convention scheduled for today, April 3 to tomorrow April 4.
· The Elections Commission cited the complaint filed by some aggrieved partisans as the reason for the proposed deferral.

Ambassador Conmany Wesseh Appointed to European Union
(The Analyst, Heritage, New Vision)

· Ambassador Conmany B. Wesseh has been appointed as Liberia’s Ambassador to the European Union (EU). A Ministry of Foreign Affairs release said the decision is in recognition of Liberia’s increasingly strategic and demanding partnership with the European Union for accelerated development aimed at promoting Liberia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS).

Germans Build Liberians' Capacity in Road Engineering
(Daily Observer)

· [sic:] A German capacity-building institution is in the country to train and build the capacity of Liberian contractors in road construction to enable the Liberian firms attract better contract opportunities through professional performances. “The labeling of Liberian contractor as lacking in both professional and logistical capacity to effectively carry out road construction is fast becoming a thing of the past,” said Foday M. Kamara, Sr. president of the of the Association of Liberia Construction Contractors (ALCC).

Radio Summary
Star Radio (News monitored today at 9:00 am)
Supreme Court Intervenes in Liberty Party, NEC Exchanges

Lawmakers Vote to Release Detained LTA's Boss Today
· The House of Representatives voted today to release from further detention the disgraced Chairman of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), Albert Bropleh.
· The House voted to pardon the detained LTA Chairman based on a motion for reconsideration but maintained its vote of no confidence in Mr. Bropleh.
· The House found the LTA Chairman guilty of perjury and ordered his detention for one month over a scandal in which he solicited and withdrew US$52,000.00 from the LTA accounts as lobby fees for the Legislature.
· In a related development, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has suspended Mr. Bropleh for time indefinite.
(Also reported on Truth F.M., Sky F.M., and ELBC)

Three Opposition Lawmakers Alarm over Unity Party Merger
· Three opposition lawmakers have criticized the merger of the governing Unity Party, Liberia Action Party (LAP) and the Liberia Unification Party (LUP).
· The lawmakers including the Congress for Democratic Change Rufus Neufville described the merger as a threat to multi-democracy saying the independence of the Legislature has been undermined.
· Addressing a news conference yesterday, the three opposition lawmakers said the merger places independent decision making at the National Legislature at risk as both Houses are headed by the LAP which is part of the governing Unity Party coalition.
· House Speaker Alex Tyler and the Senate Pro Temp Cletus Wortorson belong to the Liberia Action Party even though a Spokesman of the party said they will not form part of the merger.
(Also reported on Truth F.M., Sky F.M., and ELBC)

Liberia, Nigeria Sign Technical Agreement
· The Government of Liberia and the Federal Republic of Nigeria have signed a Technical and Manpower Assistance Agreement aimed at deploying over 100 volunteers in various professional fields to participate in the ongoing efforts by government to accelerate the socio-economic development of the country.
· Foreign Minister OluBanke King Akerele signed on behalf of government while Nigeria’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Bagudu Hirse signed for his government.
(Also reported on Truth F.M., Sky F.M., and ELBC)

900 Sierra Leonean Refugees Get official Residency in Liberia

· Liberia has granted alien residency to 900 Sierra Leonean refugees who sought refuge here since their country’s civil war started in 1991.
· Vice President Joseph Boakai said the government is committed to providing maximum security for all those residing within its borders and that government was in full support of the integration of former Sierra Leonean refugees in the society.
· Vice President Boakai spoke when the 900 former refugees received Sierra Leonean passports to qualify them for the alien residency status.
· For her part, Sierra Leone’s Ambassador Marie Barnett called on her kinsmen to remain law abiding and respectful to authority.

Truth F.M. (News monitored today at 10:00 am)
UNMIL Urges Legislature to Pass Threshold Bill

Justice Minister Warns Against Burning Down Police Stations
· Speaking during the dedication of the newly constructed police depot in the Freeport Community on Bushrod Island, Justice Minister Philip Banks has threatened to arrest and persecute anyone who will burn down a police depot and other state assets in the name of seeking redress to their grievances.
· The Minister said citizens must seek legal redress to their concerns rather than resulting to violence.


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