Sierra Leone: Council members urge rebel group to fully join in disarmament programme

Sierra Leone: Council members urge rebel group to fully join in disarmament programme

Concerned about the slow pace of disarmament by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in one of Sierra Leone's districts, members of the Security Council today urged the rebel group to participate fully in the country's disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programme.

Although the DDR programme was progressing reasonably well, Council members expressed concern about the slow progress of the RUF's disarmament in Bombali district, according to Ambassador Richard Ryan of Ireland, which holds the rotating Presidency of the 15-member body for the month of October.

"The members of the Council continue to urge the RUF - and the Civil Defence Force - to participate fully in the DDR programme," he told reporters. "This is essential to the long-term stability of Sierra Leone."

Ambassador Ryan said concerns raised by the RUF were being addressed but added that they were no excuse for the rebel group to delay the DDR process. The RUF has the opportunity to air such concerns in the tripartite forum meetings which bring it together with the UN Mission in the country (UNAMSIL) and the Government of Sierra Leone. The next such meeting will be held on 11 October, he said.

Council members also urged donors to contribute to the trust fund for the DDR programme, Ambassador Ryan said, welcoming the recently announced contributions of Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands.