Explanation of vote by Phillip Taula, Deputy Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations, 23 December 2016.

New Zealand voted in favour of this resolution.  This is a critical period for Liberia. 

The Council’s consideration of the future UN presence in the country was important given the considerable gains that Liberia has achieved in recent years, including taking over full responsibility for security from UNMIL earlier this year. 

Today’s resolution rightfully commends the successful completion of that process. 

After 13 years of UNMIL support in the country, it was right for the Council to consider the next steps for the UN’s engagement in the country, and to carefully consider the best interests of Liberia itself. 

New Zealand saw considerable merit in arguments made in favour of the UN providing support  to Liberia through 2017 including the elections period,  but to bring to an end the current peacekeeping mission.

The current resolution extends the mandate of the mission for a final period until 30 March 2018. 

New Zealand considers it important that the Security Council conveys two key messages.  First, that the UN continues to support Liberia in a strong partnership as it enters the next stage in its history; and second, that UNMIL will rightly withdraw early in 2018, given that the Liberians have demonstrated that a UN peacekeeping mission in the country will no longer be warranted, in light of the significant progress made.

Mr President.

We would echo the concerns expressed about the process followed in negotiating this resolution.  We feel more could have been done to bridge the diverging views within the Council in order to reach consensus and therefore send a united message to Liberia.

Finally, we again commend Liberia for the progress made in the country and wish it continued success in the important period ahead. 

Thank you Mr President.