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Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Needs Assessment for Liberia

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen.

I am delighted to take the floor on behalf of my government. We regard this conference as one link in a chain of international opportunities to reverse a tragic situation in Liberia into one that allows a positive new basis for development towards prosperity.

The people of Liberia have endured a tremendously difficult situation in their country for the last 15 years, conflict and civil war. The Liberian people have been the victims of appalling human rights violations, involvement of children in armed conflict, killings, rape, sexual assaults and other horrors that go beoynd all imagination. It has been a long running nightmare, as Mr. Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the UN told us this morning. The UN Mission in Liberia has now provided security to Monrovia and its environs, though outside these areas things still remain very difficult. Indeed, the present peace in the country is fragile, as Mr. Mark Malloch Brown of the UN Development Group, said yesterday. Through the International Reconstruction Conference for Liberia we are now given the opportunity to change this precarious situation with a consolidated effort by the international community. All of us agree with Mr. Tom Kitt, the Irish Minister of State when he said this morning that the ordinary people of Liberia have suffered enough.

My delegation welcomes and fully supports the Results-Focused Transition Framework (RFTF). We regard it as being the most appropriate tool to ensure Liberia’s transition during 2004-2005. The matrix provides a very focused and detailed outline for the work ahead during the transition years. It outlines basic goals that have to be reached in Liberia in order to restore a functioning society, including the setting up of governmental administration agencies that respect the rule of law; ensuring security and demobilization; reintegrating refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons into society; restoring basic services like education, health care and sanitation, and creating the circumstances for agriculture, fisheries, social services, transport, power systems, telecommunications and financial systems to thrive. In short, as Mr. Andrew Natsios of the UNAID said yesterday and Chairman Bryant of the National Transitional Government of Liberia this morning, a failed state must be rebuilt from the ruins.

In order to reach the targets that the RFTF sets out, it is fundamental to ensure the necessary funding for the demobilization and rehabilitation programs. In our view, special attention should be given to child soldiers, health care and child care.

My government is a committed supporter of multilateral development efforts through the UN institutions and specialised agencies.

In taking part in the reconstruction of Liberia we affirm our view that the international community bears a heavy responsibility towards countries in deep crisis. This integrated approach to peace building, encompassing all the interlinked aspects essential to a functioning state is the way forward. It is my pleasure therefore, to announce that the Icelandic government pledges initially one million Icelandic krónur, in support of the transition in Liberia.

Thank you.

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