United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan hailed the burning of weapons in Liberia on Monday, saying it was the largest single public display of conventional weapons destruction carried out in peacetime.
In a message delivered on his behalf by the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Kingsley Amoako, Annan spoke of the symbolic value of the destruction.
"Today, with these flames of peace, peace in Liberia burns more brightly, and we can see a glimmer of hope for peace and security across the African continent," Annan said.
A symbolic burning of arms and ammunition surrendered by former warring factions to the UN and the ECOWAS Peace Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) at the end of the civil war, took place on Liberia's 152nd independence day at the Barclay Training Centre in Monrovia.
The burning of the bulk of the weapons began on Sunday in the Bomi Hills near Tubmanburg, some 50km north of Monrovia. Heavy earth-moving equipment and loaders were used to destroy three mt of small ammunition in five steel containers. A German non-governmental agency has been asked to manufacture of farming implements out of the leftover metal and return them to farmers in Liberia.
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