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In Sierra Leone, UN Deputy Secretary-General meets with President Kabbah

In Sierra Leone, UN Deputy Secretary-General meets with President Kabbah

President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah of Sierra Leone has told a top-ranking United Nations official that his administration was working "extremely well" with the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) and expressed his appreciation for the operation's emphasis on development.

The President made his comments during a meeting yesterday in Freetown with UN Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette, who is in Sierra Leone for a three-day visit. President Kabbah also appealed to the UN for support of his country's development and disarmament processes.

The Deputy Secretary-General told the Sierra Leonean leader that she was particularly interested in the economic, social and humanitarian activities of the UN in the country, and how the Organization and the government could more effectively coordinate their efforts. She also stressed the importance for the UN to have "good, productive relations" with the country's donor community and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Ms. Fréchette held separate discussions with Vice President Albert Joe Demby and Foreign Minister Ahmed Ramadan Dumbuya, as well as other senior government officials. The talks focused on the Sierra Leone peace process and the need for meaningful development projects in the country. Ms. Fréchette stressed that coordination and collaboration between the UN system and non-governmental organizations was important to meet the country's needs.

Later in the day, the Deputy Secretary-General met with members of the diplomatic corps to solicit their views on UN activities in Sierra Leone. She emphasized the need for regional organizations such as ECOWAS to work closely with the UN.

Today, the Deputy Secretary-General will hold meetings with UNAMSIL's senior officials and NGO representatives before departing for Lungi to visit the Bangladeshi UN peacekeepers stationed there, as well as various UN-supported humanitarian projects. She will then travel to Lunsar, about 80 kilometres from Freetown, to visit UNAMSIL soldiers recently deployed there.