UN Extends Presence in Sierra Leone to March 2013

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RAPAPORT… The UN Security Council extended its mission assisting Sierra Leone with peacebuilding and long-term development efforts through March 2013, and called on all parties involved to ensure that upcoming elections are held in a peaceful, inclusive and credible manner. Sierra Leone will hold four elections on November 17, namely presidential, parliamentary, local council and mayoral,  marking a crucial test for this country as it continues to rebuild after the devastating civil war that ended in 2002.

In a unanimously adopted resolution today, the Security Council extended its mandate of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) and requested the mission, along with the UN country team and the international community,  provide assistance to the government in preparing for the polls.

It also called upon the government, all political parties and the people of Sierra Leone “to continue to foster an environment that is conducive to  holding  peaceful, inclusive and credible elections, including through open, genuine and inclusive dialog to address possible differences, and to respect the outcome of the elections.”

Yesterday, the top UN envoy in Sierra Leone, Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen,  reported to the Security Council that the major electoral arrangements,  technical assistance from the UN, training of the police and the provision of the necessary logistics are on track. He added that the polls are an opportunity to further consolidate peace and the achievements of the past decade.

“The successful conduct of elections will demonstrate the maturity of Sierra Leone’s political leadership and institutions, as well as the consolidation of the democratic process in the country,” he stated.

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