Sunday, February 12, 2012

U.S to give AFL More Support

United States Ambassador to Liberia, H.E. Linda Thomas Greenfield, has committed her government to further supporting the Armed Forces of Liberia in terms of logistics and technical training which will prepard the force to support the foundation for long-termed security and economical development in the country. Delivering the keynote at the program commerating the 55th Armed Force Day’s celebration, Amb Greenfield said the United States Government was proud to be a partner of Liberia in the development of the new AFL. The US Diplomat said Liberia has come a longway since 2006 from basic training for the first class to the recruits to the graduation of at least one AFL officer fro the US Army Command and Staff College in December of last year. “you have come a long way: from a dream in 2007 to reestablished the Liberian Coast Guard to today’s small but competent maritime force with two patrol crafts,” she said. As a commitment to supporting the AFL, the US Ambassador said by later dates in 2012 two addition seacraft will be given to th ethe Coast Guardu to protect Liberia’s coastline and fisherise for the future. She said over the past six years, especailly in the last 12 months, Liberia and its partners have felt a sense of accomplishment because the US Government has been by the side of the Liberian Government; more visibly with the presence of 50 US military mentors known as Operation Onward Liberty. “The US Government is committed to helping Liberia Succeed, to helping Liberia beat the odds and defy the World Bank Statitics that indicates almost half of post-conflict countries slip back into conflict. And we are committed to helping the AFL become the ‘force for good’ that President Sirleaf called for anf that the citizens of Liberia longed for,” she said. She recalled, in 2010 as part of the US National Guard State partnership, the AFL and the Michigan National Guard esstblished a partnership which would significantly improved the AFL. The program was designed to assist with capacity development, built long-termed relationship and creat a mechanism for sharing experances, techniques and expertise. “The National Guard in the US plays a very significant role in emergency management, disaster response and search and rescue. Given that National Defense of 2008 assigns similar tasks to the AFL, it is certain that the Michigan National Guard’s expertise in these areas will contribute greatly to AFL’s development as a ‘force for good,’” she said. Ambassador Greenfield used the occasion to disclosed that at the request of the Minister of Defense, her Government is in the early stages of putting together a program, initially funded at US$3.5m, to assist the AFL develop an increased engineer capacity. The program according to Madam Greenfield will include acquisation of some engineer equipment and a requisite training component for the AFL because training is the ‘bread and butter’ of any armed forces in the world. She further added increased engineer capacity will enable the AFL to contribute in a small but tangible way to infrastructure rehabilitation, so necessary for the country’s economic development. Amb. Greenfield said Liberia has a rich array of partners including the U.S, Member States of the ECOWAS, other international partners and the UNMIL which indicates the serious commitment of the international community toward the success of Liberia. The outgoing U.S. Ambassador said the level of commitment attached to the sustainability of peace and security in Liberia by the international community meant that it is imperative that all efforts are fully cordinated and integrated so that all resources, whether international or local, are put to the most effective use. She said the world is looking forward to a day, in years to come, when Liberia will be prepare to provide troops to an international peace keeping mission as it did in the Congo in early 1960-1963. “Let there be no mistake: history will judge this effort to build a new AFL as a success or a failure, naot based on the efforts and policy of the US government or UNMIL or ECOWAS or any other international partners but on the character,ethics, and action of liberian men and women in uniform,” Amb. Greenfield said.

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