UN Peace-Keepers to Monitor Cease-Fire, Elections; Coordinate Humanitarian Aid

Article excerpt

The Security Council on 22 September established the UN Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL) to monitor the cease-fire established in July 1993, observe the elections scheduled for February/March 1994, and coordinate humanitarian aid.

The Council's action followed the signing on 25 July in Cotonou, Benin, of a peace agreement between the three parties to the Liberian conflict: the interim Government of National Unity of Liberia (IGNU), the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), and the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO).

The new UN peace-keeping operation in Africa will work in cooperation with an already existing peace-keeping mission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

ECOWAS oversaw the formulation of the 1991 Yamoussoukro IV Accord, described in the Cotonou Agreement as the "best framework for peace in Liberia".

In adopting resolution 866 (1993), the Councfl welcomed the decision to establish a transitional government in Liberia and encouraged African States to provide additional troops requested for ECOWAS' Economic Community Monitoring Group, known as ECOMOG.

It also urged the Liberian parties to commence the encampment, disarmament and demobilization process without delay, and called on them to cooperate fully in the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance.

UNOMIL will be comprised of some 300 military observers, as well as humanitarian and electoral components. Among its specific duties will be investigating reported cease-fire violations, observing the election process, helping coordinate humanitarian assistance, reporting violations of international humanitarian law, and training ECOMOG engineers in land mine clearance.

The Council approved the UNOMIL operation for a seven-month period, until April 1994. The Sectetary-General is to report to the Security Council by mid-December on progress achieved.

On 9 September, the Secretary-General reported (S/26422) that, while UNOMIL and ECOMOG; were to collaborate closely, it would not impede the UN mission from operating independently, as required. This unprecedented cooperation of the UN with a regional mission was "a special opportunity" which might set a precedent for future peace-keeping operations, he said.

Brigadier-General Ian Douglas of Canada headed a planning mission which visited Liberia from 6 to 13 August. …

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