Linda Thomas Green-Field, the United States Representative to the United Nations, led President Joe Biden’s delegation to Liberia’s fourth postwar inauguration.
During her stay, she met with leaders including former President George Weah, Joseph Boakai, civil society organizations, youth organizations, and business executives to discuss the importance of combating corruption, promoting accountability, and promoting democracy.
“The first president, President Sirleaf, served for two terms; President George Weah – an opposition candidate was elected, and he graciously accepted the results of a free and fair election and allowed for a smooth transition,” she said during a special online briefing on Wednesday, January 31, 2023. “And that is truly an example for not just West Africa, but the entire continent of Africa. And we really should commend Liberians for that success.”
During the briefing, Greenfield highlighted the power of democracy in Africa and how the rise of juntas in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Guinea are threatening peace and security in Africa.
“This was a focus of all of my conversations with heads of state – including my sit-down with the president of Sierra Leone, whose country joined the Security Council during a particularly turbulent moment in the region – and my meeting with the Ghanaian president, whose country played a critical role in helping pass a UN financing resolution for AU peace operations.”
There is an increasing rise of coups, and unrest in Africa especially in the Francophone countries. The United States government, the United Nations, the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS), the African Union and other international partners have condemned these threats calling for accountability, peace and the respect for rule of law.
“I am so proud of the fact that we were able to get the AU financing resolution passed,” she added.
Ambassador Greenfield has a long-standing relationship with Africa, having served as U.S. Ambassador to Liberia and Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Africa. She said the resolution underscores the primacy of politics and the need for a coherent political strategy that will guide any peacekeeping operations in Africa.
“But it also gives support to the African Union, to African leadership of peacekeeping operations.”
According to her, the resolution emphasizes that operations must include appropriate safeguards to protect civilians.
“It provides for the UN to pay 75 percent of peacekeeping operations for AU missions, and that was something that was truly important, and we will work with the African Union and peacekeeping countries to get the rest of the funding. But it is a reflection of African leadership for African solutions.”
As part of her tour, Ambassador Greenfield also visited Sierra Leone, and Guinea Bissau to Discuss the importance of democracy and peace.
The international community is concerned about the uprisings, coups, and unrest in Africa that is threatening democracy, peace, and stability. Efforts made by ECOWAS through sanctions seem not to be working. The blocs have accused ECOWAS of being influenced by external powers.
Ambassador Greenfield noted that the international community has a responsibility to empower AU missions to respond to Africa’s growing security challenges.
“The financing resolution, which the UN unanimously adopted at the end of last year, is a major stepping stone to that end – putting African leaders at the forefront, and African people at the center.”
“In addition to discussing peace and security with presidents, I visited the Sierra Leone Peace Museum, which honors the victims of the country’s decade-long conflict and works to promote lasting peace.”
Freetown is one of the African states that almost experienced a coup when unidentified individuals broke into a military barracks, causing prisoners to break out. The former president was accused of instigating the coup. He was charged with treason.
Ambassador Greenfield added that during her visit to Freetown, she met with the Government of Sierra Leone, opposition leaders, and members of the international community working to implement Sierra Leone’s agreement for national unity.
“I also visited Tombo Fishing Village, where I learned more about the community’s challenges with illegal fishing, as well as U.S. interventions to address climate, health, food – and food security.”
“This is one of those full-circle moments for me. I visited Liberia in 2005, near the height of the UN peacekeeping mission following the civil war. To come back not even two decades later, and see Liberians contributing troops – it’s a testament to the resilience and the dedication of the Liberian people.”
Africa’s major source of income has come from the Western nations and international partners like the United States, and the UN. They have supported peacekeeping missions. civil society organizations and the government through grants, loans, and donations.
“This brings me to the last theme of the trip, which was investing in the future of Africa – namely, women and young people.”
“In Sierra Leone, I got to meet with an incredible group of young women leaders at Fourah Bay College, where we discussed the transformative role women play in government, business, and more.”