Having just completed his assessment of what will be needed to cement Liberia’s fragile peace, Jacques Paul Klein, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative for Liberia, held a news conference in Monrovia today and announced that he plans to head to New York next week and press for a Council mandate on UN peacekeepers for Liberia by mid-September. “The sooner the better for the people of Liberia,” he told reporters, adding that killings, rapes, looting and intimidation will continue, particularly in the country’s interior, unless peacekeepers are deployed in large numbers.”I think there’s a clear understanding by the region that this, this time, has to work,” said Mr. Klein, adding that “Unless we, this time, do this thing correctly, it potentially destabilizes West Africa.” He had consulted with a whole spectrum of Liberian society, ministries, non-governmental organizations and private citizens to get their input on what needs to be done, he said.He stressed that the UN would be looking for a “working partnership with the Liberian Interim Government, not a trusteeship.” A trusteeship implied that people are not capable of doing it themselves. “That is not true,” he said, “We can work with a technocrat government over two years or so to rebuild the fabric of Liberian society. It is a long-term process…we need to think about how to set up political parties that represent the Liberian people, that are not personality driven.”Mr. Klein said that if he got the mandate by the first of October – when the Interim Government is due to take over – the West African ECOMIL troops that have been policing the country for nearly a month would be “blue helmeted” and become UN peacekeepers. “ Then we can begin the process of bringing in the rest of the force structure that we need.”“I don’t know what the Security Council will give us; I am asking for 15,000 troops…enough troops to quickly be able to do disarmament, demobilization – the demilitarization that needs to be done,” Mr. Klein said. All those troops would not be on the ground by 1 October, but the process would take about four months. He said his assessment also calls for some 900 international policemen, some armed, some not. The goal will be recruit, to train, equip and try to build a Liberian police force that understands its role in a democratic society – to protect the citizens. “I would like to find international funds to pay these police, so that they do not live off the citizens and can do their job with dignity,” he added.“We are going to appeal to the international community and also to the American Government that after 1 October they maintain a presence of some sort – we need that,” he said. Mr. Klein also said that the if he got the mandate he needed, he would meet with the European Union to see what monies could be found for long-term reconstruction and job creation. “The key challenge as we demobilize is all these young people – many without education, traumatized and coerced into fighting – to find them meaningful employment and reintegrate them into society, “ he said. As for the United States, the most useful thing is to take on the reconstruction of a small Liberian army, rebuilding it and making it professional and reflecting all the ethic groups and structures within the country.
by Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press Posted Jun 2, 2017 8:59 am MDT Last Updated Jun 3, 2017 at 1:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email No further concessions on Trans Mountain, Kinder Morgan Canada president says Ian Anderson, centre, President, Kinder Morgan Canada Limited opens the market in Toronto on Friday, June 2, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette TORONTO – Kinder Morgan Canada won’t make further concessions on its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the company’s president said Friday, setting the stage for a showdown with British Columbia’s potential government-in-waiting.Ian Anderson said he is willing to meet with the provincial NDP and Greens, who have vowed to immediately stop the $7.4-billion development should they oust the Liberals from power through an alliance.But moments after toasting Kinder Morgan Canada’s debut earlier this week on the Toronto Stock Exchange, Anderson had a blunt message for the two parties.“We’ll continue to listen,” Anderson said after opening the market Friday morning.“But I don’t have any concessions planned for any further discussion at this point.”B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver said in a statement he’d be delighted to meet with Anderson to discuss his concerns, adding he served as an intervener in the National Energy Board process and felt he didn’t get satisfactory answers to some problems he posed.“I have been clear on my position that B.C. cannot afford the risks associated with the transportation of diluted bitumen in our coastal waters,” Weaver said.The majority of voters in the province recently sided with parties opposed to Trans Mountain, he added.The NDP and Greens formalized an alliance earlier this week to form B.C.’s next government after the Liberal party failed to secure a majority in the May 9 election. The Liberals won 43 seats, the NDP 41 and the Greens three.An official with the provincial NDP said Saturday that since the New Democrats aren’t in government yet they don’t want to get ahead of themselves.The Trans Mountain expansion, which already has federal approval, could begin construction in September. The project would see a current pipeline that runs from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C., twinned, effectively tripling its capacity to 890,000 barrels per day.Despite the uncertain political environment in B.C. — not to mention myriad protests and legal challenges — Anderson brushed off concerns the project would be delayed and said he doesn’t see any possibility of it being shelved.“I’m not foreseeing any, any difficulty in the construction start this fall,” he said.The company will be respectful of peaceful protests, he added, calling them “fair game for anybody.” However, if people choose to break the law, Kinder Morgan will have the authorities take care of it, he said.“We are well-prepared.”In the U.S., protesters camped out for several months to oppose the Dakota Access oil pipeline but ultimately failed to stop the project from going ahead.Last year, the federal government and National Energy Board recommended approval of the Trans Mountain expansion, subject to 157 conditions, including various environmental and safety considerations.Neither the NDP nor Greens have specified what they would do to stop the project, though experts have said they could delay or deny road access and other permits needed to proceed with construction.Kinder Morgan Canada shares started trading Tuesday after an initial public offering of $1.75 billion. In midday trading Friday, its stock was at $16.65, up 1.3 per cent from Thursday’s close.Follow @AleksSagan on Twitter.