Liberia Annan urges action by Security Council on multinational force

Mr. Annan made his comments in Bern, Switzerland, a day after the Security Council had met in closed consultations in New York and decided to continue discussing the Secretary-General’s force proposal after the return of a Council mission to West Africa next Saturday. “I would have preferred an urgent reaction,” the Secretary-General told the press in response to a question about the Council’s reaction to the letter he had sent to the 15-member body over the weekend proposing the deployment of a force.Noting that Council members were talking amongst themselves and some believed that the decision should await the return of the mission, the Secretary-General said he did not necessarily share that view.”These days with modern communications you can always get information you need without waiting for their return. The situation is urgent, tragic and I would urge a prompt, quick decision,” he said, adding that Washington was also considering his appeal that a force be sent to Liberia urgently.In another press encounter in Bern, where he is on a one-day official visit, Mr. Annan pointed out that several UN Member States had appealed to the United States to lead that operation and the Liberian population was also asking for that.”What is important is: we need a country with capacity, a military capacity, that can deploy a robust force,” the Secretary-General told the press after his meeting with Pascal Couchepin, President of the Swiss Confederation.”It doesn’t have to be very large – that can make a difference on the ground and can team up with West African forces that are ready to help monitor the ceasefire, to create space and time for the peace negotiations to be completed and lead Liberia out of its misery. And so we need a country with real capacity to go in with a robust force.”In a letter to the Security Council on Saturday, Mr. Annan noted that earlier last month the Council had endorsed a UN role to implement a ceasefire in Liberia, which has been torn by years of civil war and factional fighting. “The time has now come for the Security Council to take action to give practical effect to that commitment, in the light of the most recent grave deterioration in the situation,” he wrote. read more