Progress on Peace, Prosperity Remains Fragile in Sierra Leone

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RAPAPORT…  The outbreak of violence across Sierra Leone in March was “a wake-up call,” according to Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary-general, speaking at a meeting in the west African nation. “It also reminded us of the importance of sustained global support,” he stated.

Sierra Leone’s governing All People’s Congress (APC) and the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) signed an agreement on April 2, 2009, ending the violence that threatened regional peace in early March. Ban praised the nation’s President Koroma and opposition leaders for rising above their differences to overcome the crisis. The UN announced that emergency resources of $1.8 million from the Peacebuilding Fund would be used “to support inter-party dialogue and strengthen the capacity of Sierra Leone’s police.”

Ban added that Sierra Leone’s people “expect to see tangible improvements in their lives and in their country’s welfare.” Citizens of Sierra Leone, whose 11-year civil war ended in 2002, “want peace, prosperity and a brighter future for their children.” Ban told the high-level gathering that together “we must make further progress in addressing the root causes of conflict, strengthening democratic institutions and promoting economic and social development.”

Michael von der Schulenburg, the secretary-general’s executive representative for the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL), told reporters in New York yesterday that the peaceful resolution of violence in Sierra Leone could set an example for other countries. “I think the [April agreement] is of great significance for the country and may be an example for other countries which go through similar periods…on how to intervene very quickly to stop the violence.”


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