Tuesday, May 19, 2009

United Nations News

International Clips on Liberia
Cause Canada on Peace Building Project
By: Ben Samuel Turay

Concord Times, May 19, 2009 (Concord Times/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- Cause Canada in collaboration with civil society organizations in Sierra Leone has commenced a two-day clinic on peace building for Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ivory-coast.

Cause peace building coordinator, Daniel N'bompa-Turay told participants at the Archdiocesan Pastoral center in Freetown that the aim of the workshop was to bring the tree countries together to strengthen gender issues, empower women and youths in peace building process.

He said the clinic will also look at educating people about human rights issues and bring both civil society organizations and the government to work as one.

"It is important to discuss about peace building. We want peace in of West Africa," he said. He added that both Liberia and Sierra Leone have experienced brutal civil war and that it was important for the two countries to build on their peace process.

International Clips on West Africa
Mediator sees chance of Ivory Coast "turning point"
OUAGADOUGOU, May 18 (Reuters) - The African leader seeking to broker an end to Ivory Coast's six-year political gridlock hailed a new Nov. 29 election date on Monday as a real chance for the world's top cocoa grower to emerge from the stalemate.

Last week's announcement of the date met with skepticism by analysts who warned it could slip like others before it, citing what they see a lack of political will by incumbent Ivorian leaders benefiting from the political uncertainty.

But Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore said before a new round of mediation talks that President Laurent Gbagbo's government was committed to holding a poll aimed at reuniting a country whose north has been in the hands of rebels since a 2002-03 civil war.

Local Media – Newspaper
UN Security Council Delegation Visits Liberia – Travel Ban victims beg to be heard
(New Democrat, The Analyst, The Monitor, Heritage, the Informer and The Inquirer newspapers)

· A United Nations Security Council delegation is due to visit Liberia on Tuesday on the last stop of an eight-day, four-nation trip to Africa.
· Ambassadors and diplomats from the 15 council nations - the United States of America, France, Uganda, the United Kingdom, Russia, the People’s Republic of China, Austria, Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Croatia, Japan, Libya, Mexico, Turkey and Vietnam - are due to meet with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Cabinet Ministers, the leadership of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), senior members of the UN country team, and the International Contact Group on Liberia.
· The media expects that the delegation, led by US Ambassador Susan Rice, would reaffirm the Council’s support to President Sirleaf's efforts to rebuild the country after back-to-back civil wars.
· Accordingly, the Council will also assess the UN Mission in Liberia, whose mandate expires in September, to determine whether it should be further renewed. The delegation will also assess the operational capacity and sustainability of the Liberia National Police and other security institutions.
· In another twist, a number of Liberians affected by the UN Security Council travel restrictions continued to accuse the government of being insensitive to their plight, urging the visiting UN Security Council delegation to accord them an opportunity to be heard.
· Most of the affected Liberians accused the Council of being selective in removing names from the travel ban list.
· It is widely believed in Liberia that the issue of removal was a key instrument for garnering votes in the heat of the 2005 Presidential campaign. A major Liberian online news magazine suspects that ‘promises were made by some political players that they would advocate on behalf of those restricted from travel and whose assets have been frozen.’
· Recently, Jewel Howard Taylor, wife of former President Charles Taylor lamented that a promise made by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf regarding the turnover of her husband to the war crimes court for trial was not fulfilled, a pledge President Sirleaf denies in her memoir which was released a short while ago.

Suspended LTA Chairman Faces Probe
(Heritage, The News, Daily Observer)
· The suspended Chairman Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), Albert Bropleh will submit himself for investigation based on recent audit reports. The rest of the LTA commissioners have complied with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's request to resign their posts.

Man Arrested over US$1M Scam
(The News, Heritage, The Inquirer, Daily Observer)
· A middle-aged man identified as 'E. Jee Sirleaf', who coned the Government to cart away US$1 million under the guise of acting on behalf of the President, is currently undergoing investigation for his alleged involvement in fraudulent acts at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL).

Corrections Officer Justifies Jailbreaks
(The Monitor)

· [Sic:] An official of the Corrections and Rehabilitation at the Ministry of Justice has attributed the wave of jailbreaks in the country to neglect of the correction system by the Liberian Government. ‘Correction officers in the country are still operating in primitive days, we walk with prisoners from various detention or prison centers to court; there are no vehicles for corrections officers,’ said Victoria Freeman.

Local Media – Star Radio (News monitored today at 09:00 am)
High-Power UN Security Council Delegation in Monrovia for Assessment
(Also reported on Sky F.M., and ELBC)

US Ambassador Renews Commitment to Assist in Liberia’s Recovery

· In an interview, U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Linda Thomas Greenfield expressed her government’s re-newed commitment to supporting Liberia in its recovery programme.
· Ambassador Greenfield said the U.S. was interested in investing in all sectors of the country but said her Government was particularly interested in infrastructure development, security, health and education.
· Meanwhile, the U.S. Ambassador to Liberia has administered the oath of service to six additional Peace Corps volunteers in Monrovia.
· She said the Peace Corps volunteers programme represent a viable and visible symbol of America’s contribution to efforts of world peace.
(Also reported on Sky F.M., and ELBC)

Former President Pro-temp Differs on Proposal to Cut Salaries of Senior Public Officials

· Former President Pro-tempore of the Liberian Senate, Isaac Nyenabo says salaries of certain Government officials cannot be reduced unless constitutional amendments are made.
· According to him, the constitution protects the salaries of the President, Vice President, Chief Justice and the Supreme Court Justices.
· Senator Nyenabo said it was totally wrong for a lawmaker to propose salary deductions for certain government officials.
· His statement was in reaction to a proposal by Montserrado Representative Rufus Neufville for a reduction in the salaries of top government officials.
· Representative Neufville proposed the reduction to ensure that the salaries of civil servants are increased to a minimum of US$150.

Supreme Court Summons Central Bank Governor in Connection with Controversial US$508,200

· Chambers Justice Francis Kporpor has cited the Central Bank Governor, Mills Jones to a conference in connection with the “controversial” half a million dollars seized from a Nigeria in 2006 and used by Government.
· Justice Minister, Philip Banks and lawyers representing the Nigerian will also attend the conference scheduled for Wednesday.
· The conference is in line with the recent rate of mandamus filed against Justice Minter Banks and CBL Governor Dr. Mills Jones.
· The government’s spending of the over US$500,000 on National Security sparked the petition from a local human rights lawyer.

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