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Security Council urges funding to bolster peace process in Sierra Leone

Security Council urges funding to bolster peace process in Sierra Leone

Noting a number of positive political developments in Sierra Leone, members of the Security Council today urged international funding to bolster the country's efforts to achieve peace.

In a statement to the press following closed-door consultations of the Council, its President, Ambassador Patricia Durrant of Jamaica, cited steps being taken to transform the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) into a political party as well as progress in the country's disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process. She said the members had noted that "this will lead to the need for additional resources, especially for reintegration."

The United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) was now deployed in all provinces, according to the statement, which voiced the members' appreciation to troop-contributing countries. At the same time, the Government of Sierra Leone had further extended its authority across the country in areas formally controlled by the RUF.

Noting that preparations for elections scheduled for 2002 were under way, with the support of the UN and the international donor community, the members "emphasized the importance of funds not only being pledged but also being disbursed." The donor community was also urged to respond positively to the shortfall in funding for the Consolidated Appeal Fund for Sierra Leone.

Meanwhile, in Freetown, the Government and the RUF agreed today to take "immediate action to facilitate fast disarmament" in all districts by 30 November, according to UNAMSIL. The two sides agreed to collect such arms from 15 November to 31 December. They also agreed to carry out "a wide publicity and sensitization effort" to ensure the programme's success.

The agreements were reached during a meeting of the Joint Committee on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration. During the gathering, participants observed a minute of silence in memory of UNAMSIL personnel who had lost their lives in yesterday's helicopter crash.

According to the UN operation, the meeting took place in "an unprecedented atmosphere of cordiality and constructive dialogue." The next meeting of the Joint Committee will be held in Freetown on 13 December.