Sunday, February 12, 2012

“National Security is a Priority”

-Says President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia, President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, has termed National Security a priorty ahead of the yet to come transition of the UN mission in libe (UNMIL). The CIC said six years ago, her government was focused on the restoration and reform of the AFL and the security sector in general; but the next six years would be spend on forstering log-termed security and economic development of the security sector and the country as a whole. President Johnson made this assertion when she delivered the 55th Armed Forces Day massage over the weekend at the Barclay Training Center (BTC) where members of the 53rd legislature, international partners, government officials and families of enlisted men of the AFL had gathered to commemorate the day. The AFL CIC acknowledged insights by UNMIL Force Commander, Major General Muhammad Khalid when he urged the Government of Liberia should ‘speed up building the capacity of the AFL, in preparations for the drawdown of UN forces because the Mission was not intended to stay in Liberia perpetually. The Liberian President pointed out that in order to meet the need of security after the UNMIL has transition, the strenght of the army must be increased. Acknowledging the need to of expanding military bases to have health and recreational centers and schools, President Johnson said her government will support the necessary allocatiion of additional budget to meet the needs of the army. Having stated the increase in force and the welfare of the army as national security priorty, President Johnson called on international partners including the U.S, UNMIL and member states of ECOWAS among others to keep up their support to the AFL to have it improved to become the force of good. She said the AFL has a charged history of honor, duty and loyalty to the state adding that such was significant in keeping a peaceful and democratic nation. Though members of the new AFL can execise their inalienable rights to vote during elections, the presidents told the gathering that soldiers were not politicians. It can be recalled during the early 1970s and late 1980s when the army interfered with politics is the country, Liberia was plunged into a state of total anarchy until 2003 when its civil crisis came to an end with the departure of Ex-president and Warlord Charles G. Taylor. President Johnson cautioned the gallant men and women of the AFL that unlike politicians, they (soldiers) were governed by the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) which will hold them accountable for their actions. The president sighted the National Defends Act of 2008 which calls for an unequivocal loyalty from every man and woman of the AFL as she reemphasized that soldiers are not politicians. Deliverin the keynote earlier, outgoing U.S ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfeild thanked all other nations and organizations thathave worked with and supported the efforts of the Liberian Government to have the AFL at where it is. She said today the men and women of the AFL are individuals of good moral character, courage, and integrity and a tremendous resource ‘who can, who will and who must’ play a strong role in rebuilding and long-term development of Liberia by leading lives driven by duty, honor, pride and country. H.E. Greenfield: “there can be no return to old ways of self-interest over duty and national interest; no return to a sense of privilege and entitlement over honor, intergity, selfless service and respect; no return to a force that thinks it is above the law and preys on its population rather than serve them.” “This is a new day,” she said, “where the members of the AFL are model law-abiding citizens, expressing their will at the ballot boxes, and holding themselves to the highest standard of good conduct.” Also making remarks at the program held under the theme ‘Armed Forces of Liberia Supports the Foundation for Long-term Security and Economic Development in Liberia, Defense Minister Brownie Samukai reassured the commitment of the AFL to serve the people of Liberia to the best of Professional Standard. He said as the minister of defense, he would work and do everything possible to improve the tives and welfare of Members of the AFL. Aknowledging the role other nations have played in developing the liberian army into what it is today, the defense minister said it was his hope that he coast guard be further improve to protect the maritime of Liberia. He used the occasion to declear that recruitment to upmend the strenght of the AFL will begin as earlier as March AD 2012.

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