Kitt in Liberia for inauguration of government

 

Then Minister of State for Development Cooperation at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Mr Tom Kitt, is in Liberia today as part of an EU mission to attend the inauguration of the new transitional government.

Tens of thousands of people lined the streets of the battle-scarred capital Monrovia yesterday to welcome home Mr Gyude Bryant who takes office today as Liberia's new leader after nearly 14 years of war.

Mr Bryant was picked by warring factions after ex-president Charles Taylor flew into exile in August.

The establishment of the new National Transitional Government comes after the signing by all parties of the Accra Peace Agreement on the 18th of August.

The new government will seek to disarm thousands of young fighters inured to murder, rape and pillage; get hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians home; and pave the way for elections in 2005.Speaking after the inauguration, Minister Kitt said: "The people of Liberia have endured enormous deprivation and hardship over the past number of years and I am proud the Ireland has and will continue to play a strong role in bringing peace and assistance to such a troubled country."

Ireland has provided over €2.5 million in emergency humanitarian assistance to Liberia this year and is planning to contribute peacekeeping troops.

Over 400 Irish troops will arrive in Liberia shortly in response to a direct request by the UN Secretary General Annan that Ireland should play a key role.