Global perspective Human stories

At Sierra Leone forum, UN mission chief stresses importance of collective goals

At Sierra Leone forum, UN mission chief stresses importance of collective goals

As over 250 delegates from different parts of Sierra Leone gathered in Freetown to discuss ways of rebuilding their society, the head of the United Nations Mission in the country has appealed to Sierra Leoneans to put collective good above the interests of one particular constituency.

Speaking at the opening of the National Consultative Conference on Peace and Democracy, Oluyemi Adeniji said the success of the Conference “depends not only on the range of constituencies involved, but also the extent to which the conference is focused, as well as by the civility of the exchanges the conference generates.” Such a conference will be judged by the seeds it leaves behind for the germination of democratic values, he told the participants of the three-day meeting, among them representatives of the Government, political parties and civil society groups.

Reviewing the history and the current status of the peace process, Mr. Adeniji noted that the completion of the disarmament exercise would facilitate the extension of Government authority and the deployment of the Sierra Leone Police throughout the country. He said that the presence of UNAMSIL, as the UN mission is known, had created an environment that facilitated the convening of national consultations on the country's political future.

Mr. Adeniji told the gathering that UNAMSIL would continue to offer its assistance as the country moved from the military aspects of the peace process to the political realm - especially those geared towards the consolidation of democracy - and that the Security Council and ECOWAS would feel comfortable if they were assured that their assistance was rooted in a national consensus.

In other news, UNAMSIL's Force Commander Lt. Gen. Daniel Opande yesterday witnessed the final phase of disarmament in the central town of Magburaka, in Tonkolili District, where several combatants of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) handed over their weapons - AK-47s, rifles, and self-loading machine-guns - to UN peacekeepers.