As UN peacekeepers leave Sierra Leone, Annan pledges help to consolidate stability

30 December 2005

With the peacekeeping United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) ending its mandate tomorrow, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan today noted its successes and pledged that the UN would remain active in the West African country, helping the Government and people to address the root causes of a brutal civil war and to rebuild national capacity.

With the peacekeeping United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) ending its mandate tomorrow, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan today noted its successes and pledged that the UN would remain active in the West African country, helping the Government and people to address the root causes of a brutal civil war and to rebuild national capacity.

“The mission was able to overcome a number of serious political and military challenges to become an effective peacekeeping operation that leaves Sierra Leone much better off today than it was five years ago,” a spokesman for Mr. Annan said in a statement released in New York.

“Its many achievements include the successful disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of more than 75,000 ex-combatants; playing a central role in the preparation and conduct of the 2002 and 2004 elections; providing critical assistance and training to stand up the country’s security sector; supporting the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; assisting the Government in reasserting its control over diamond-mining, and providing protection to the Special Court for Sierra Leone.”

While hailing the people of Sierra Leone for putting their country on the path to economic recovery, the statement cautioned that much remains to be done and called on all Sierra Leoneans to build on the success they have achieved with UNAMSIL’s help.

The Security Council created UNAMSIL in 1999 and imposed an arms embargo against certain prominent civilians as well as a travel ban against both the rebel fighters and the military junta. The mission is considered one of the UN’s most visible successes, having deployed in the wake of a devastating civil conflict that left at least 75,000 people dead and many more maimed.

UNAMSIL’s departure will be followed, starting on Sunday, by the activation of the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL), which is mandated to support the Government’s efforts to ensure peace and security, consolidate State authority, promote good governance and human rights, address cross-border issues, and advance national recovery as well as economic and social development.

 

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