Vice President Boakai Addresses UN General Assembly

Friday, 28th September 2007
New York, USA - Liberia’s Vice President Joseph N. Boakai has told world leaders attending the 62nd General Assembly of the United Nations that post-war Liberia continues to be burdened by huge debts owed bilateral and multilateral creditors, and has renewed the government’s plea for international “empathy and consideration of the country’s debt cancellation request”.

Vice President Boakai said servicing these debts estimated at US$3.7 billion dollars, remains a major priority of the government, but stressed that the government’s capacity to make payment is hampered by severe resource challenges arising out of nearly two decades of civil conflict.

“We reassure all of our bilateral and multilateral creditors of our commitment to continue to work with them to develop the necessary framework toward the actualization of Liberia’s debt relief initiatives,”
Vice President Boakai said.

He thanked Liberia’s partners, especially the United States, Great Britain, China, Germany, among others, for active steps they have taken toward debt relief for Liberia.

Vice President Boakai who  served as proxy for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at this year’s UN General Assembly, told the world leaders that Liberia highly appreciates the recent decision  of the UN Security Council to lift sanctions imposed on Liberia’s timber and diamond in 2002, and pledged government’s cooperation with the United Nations as it partners with Liberia in her reform agenda.

He said well-meaning Liberians saw the imposition of the sanctions as “prudent and corrective”, noting that the sanctions have helped to accelerate the adoption of new laws and the institutionalization of appropriate mechanisms to ensure that Liberians would never again allow conditions that gave rise to their imposition.

The Liberian Vice President also thanked the international community for its support toward peace building and strengthening of the security sector and stability in Liberia.

“Despite the gains of peace, Liberia still remains fragile. The recent decision therefore by the Security Council to extend the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Liberia is timely and relevant. Liberia remains grateful for this and other decisions aimed at sustaining peace and stability in the country,” Vice President Boakai said.

 “Liberia reaffirms its belief in the United Nations as the best institution for the promotion and protection of international peace and security and resolution of crises around the world… and mankind’s best hope and vehicle for the advancement of  the common purpose of humanity,” Vice President Boakai said.

He however noted that as the United Nations pursues these objectives, it cannot expect to succeed on frameworks that are nearly three-quarters of a century old.

Vice President Boakai assured world leaders that Liberia would henceforth continue to work within the regional framework of the Mano River Union , ECOWAS, and the AU to ensure realization and advancement of peace in the sub-region and the African Continent.

He assured that Liberia fully supports instruments to raise international awareness of the degradation of the environment and the need for collaborative efforts to reverse the negative degradation of the environment, and hoped the 62nd Session of the UN General Assembly would produce a consensus on how to save succeeding generations from the impact of deteriorating climate.

Click here to read full text of Vice President Boakai's Speech to the UN General Assembly.