UN chief pledges support for Ebola-hit Liberia

MONROVIA – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has pledged support for Liberia as the country recovers from the Ebola epidemic, which has killed thousands in West Africa.

"We will be with you until this outbreak is under control and the country has recovered," Ban said at a meeting with Liberian President Johnson Sirleaf on Friday.

"Today we have the reason to be consciously optimistic that this terrible outbreak can be defeated; the spread of the virus is destroying Liberia," he said.

Ban arrived in Liberia on Friday on the first leg of a four-nation tour of Ebola-hit states. He is also scheduled to travel to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Mali.

In recent months, Ebola – a contagious disease for which there is no known treatment or cure – has killed 6,388 people, mostly in West Africa, according to the World Health Organization.

The deadly virus has reportedly claimed 3,177 lives in Liberia, 1,768 in Sierra Leone and 1,428 in Guinea.

Ban said the UN was working to reduce the number of Ebola cases in affected countries.

"The United Nations system is fully committed to supporting all affected and at-risk communities [and] countries to contend [with] the Ebola outbreak and end this crisis," he said.

"I thank immensely Her Excellency Present Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for her strong leadership and commitment and vision to contain and address this Ebola outbreak, which requires political will and leadership; the UN is ready to fully support and work with you," the UN chief added.

Ban said that, although the number of Ebola cases was still high, the UN approach to helping Liberia after the outbreak was "cardinal."

"Let me take this time to express my great admirations and respect for the thousands of national and international respondents who are making life-saving contributions on the frontline, including the U.S., which has sent many of its civilians and military personnel to join in the fight against Ebola," he said.

Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency