Annan: Sierra Leone Must Focus on Roots of War

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(Rapaport…September 26, 2005) United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan praised Sierra Leone’s government for its progress towards consolidating peace, but said that many underlying causes of the 14-year conflict, such as youth unemployment, have yet to be addressed, reported UN News Centre on September 23.

The secretary-general commended Sierra Leone’s achievements to date, most notably in diamond licensing and substantially increasing the official exports of diamonds. The country’s government should be encouraged to generate additional revenue, including development projects for local communities in the vital diamond-mining sector, said Annan.

Root causes of the conflict in Sierra Leone are yet to be addressed, noted the secretary-general. He said that the long-term sustainability of Sierra Leone’s achievements thus far will require international support through joint efforts of the UN and donor community.

It is imperative for government programs to address key socio-economic issues including poverty, illiteracy, lack of basic infrastructure and youth unemployment, said Annan. The UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) will assist the Sierra Leone government in overcoming its challenges, he said.

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