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Sierra Leone: UN envoy praises agreement between presidential candidates

Sierra Leone: UN envoy praises agreement between presidential candidates

The senior United Nations envoy to Sierra Leone has welcomed the agreement of the leaders of the country’s two major political parties on measures to try to calm rising tensions ahead of this Saturday’s presidential run-off election.

Victor Angelo, the Secretary-General’s Executive Representative in Sierra Leone, issued a statement praising the agreement yesterday, a day after the President, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, brought together the two presidential candidates for talks.

Ernest Bai Koroma of the All People’s Congress (APC) and incumbent Vice-President Solomon Berewa of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), who are vying to replace Mr. Kabbah in the run-off poll, signed a communiqué on Sunday stipulating the measures reached.

Mr. Angelo congratulated Mr. Koroma and Mr. Berewa for their agreement and Mr. Kabbah for his “timely initiative” amid mounting international concern at the tensions inside the West African nation.

“The historic meeting between the two leaders… marks an important milestone in the collective efforts to foster an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity that had characterized the first round of the ongoing national elections,” Mr. Angelo said.

The 11 August presidential and parliamentary elections were Sierra Leone’s second since the end of the decade-long civil war in 2002, and the first since the withdrawal of the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) in December 2005. The mission has been replaced by the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL).

Mr. Angelo urged all Sierra Leoneans to show patience and tolerance for the work of the National Electoral Commission and the country’s security agencies to ensure that the run-off election reaches a peaceful and successful conclusion.