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ecowasECOWAS Special Representative to Liberia, Amb. Baba Tunde Ajisomo has disclosed that ECOWAS Heads of State have approved Liberia’s Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan’s proposal for the establishment of the National Early Warning Mechanisms.

“On the 8th of July in Accra, the leader of the Liberian delegation, the Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs Augustine Ngafuan defended robustly the establishment of The National Early Warning Mechanisms which the ECOWAS heads of state approved on the 10th as a platform to strengthen the national mechanisms for preventing conflict and for providing leakages between the national level and regional level”, Amb. Ajisomo stated.

The ECOWAS diplomat’s assertion was contained in his opening statement on Thursday during the Awareness and Capacity Building Meeting on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) held at Gabriel L. Dennis Foreign Service Institute at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Amb. Ajisomo observed that the uniqueness of the National Early Warning Mechanisms is that it will serve as the coordinating unit in preventing conflicts as well as in addressing early potential threats.

He stated that he was happy that Liberia was also hosting an event on the importance of the early warnings as the Liberian Foreign Minister rightly said, adding, “What we need to do now in line with the policy framework of the national early warning is to institutionalize it and bring on board all relevant stakeholders as our Heads of State agreed on the 10th of July in Accra”.

Amb. Ajisomo added that he was proud that Liberia is not only a pioneer member of ECOWAS but that Liberia has been contributing effectively to the operations of ECOWAS.

He said he looks forward to early institutionalization of the National Early Warning Mechanisms as it will serve as the temperament structure for addressing potential threats and conflicts.

 Also speaking, Liberia’s Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan expressed satisfaction that following eleven years of uninterrupted peace in the country following the end of the civil war, the nation can collaborate with the Global Central for the Responsibility to Project aimed at deepening awareness on R2P issues in Liberia, assess the country’s capacities and hold discussions on developing an Integrated National Action Plan for preventing mass atrocity.

Minister Ngafuan, during his opening remarks at the (R2P) seminar reflected on the country’s efforts and participation in regional and global R2P’s initiatives including Liberia’s participation in a Regional Policy Forum on the Responsibility to Protect held in Abuja, Nigeria in June of 2012; Liberia’s participation in the Meeting of the Global Network of National R2P Focal Points in Accra, Ghana in June of 2013; the  country’s contribution to the Group of Friends for the Responsibility to Protect in December of 20013 and at the continental level, Liberia’s active participation in the debates shaping major policy decisions on peace and security on the continent, among others.

He noted that Liberia, as a country in a sub-region that suffered the brunt of bloody civil war splattered with accounts of the perpetration of gut-wrenching savagery whether by state actors or amorphous groups and that the need for engaging in efforts that aid the country in erecting the necessary road blocks to conflict which occasion mess human suffering should not be over emphasized.

“That is why we as a government welcome the R2P initiative because Liberia benefited from the concept where countries far and near seeing the self destruction we were dealing ourselves, intervened to prevent our further track down the path of destruction and to build peace”, he added.

The Minister observed that globally, there is a whooping gap between verbal pronouncements and practical actions in living up to R2P commitment, adding that countries must commit their scarce resources both materially and human.

He observed that some countries in the world, especially those with the wherewithal may choose only to intervene in conflict situations when their strategies national intervene in conflict situations when their strategic national interests is at stake and not necessarily by the human rights abuses or the humanitarian crisis the conflict engender.

He urged countries executing their R2P obligations to commit scarce resources both material and human.

Minister Ngafuan noted that oftentimes, these “strategic national interest calculations do not capture the women and children caught in the line of fire, the ones who are maimed and raped, their calculations are rather based on business and politics. It is not just talking peace; if it means dying to ensure peace then countries must be more committed to making the ultimate sacrifice.

He then stressed the need for more robust actions and sincere commitments on the part of the international community to protect the populations in states which have evidently shown signs of failing to protect their people and this can only be achieved through appropriate collective action, in a timely and decisive manner and in accordance with international statues.

He also congratulated the Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect for its unrelenting effort since 2008 in promoting the acceptance of the norm of R2P and in helping governments across the world; the UN system as well as regional organizations develop strategies for implementation.