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Sierra Leone Annan recommends sixmonth extension of UN Mission

Despite the “encouraging” progress made in Sierra Leone so far, the continued engagement of the United Nations Mission (UNAMSIL) after the country’s May elections will be indispensable in helping to maintain the stability needed to consolidate the ongoing peace efforts, according to a UN report released today in New York. “The international community has invested heavily in Sierra Leone, both politically and financially,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan writes in his latest report to the Security Council, recommending a six-month extension – until 30 September – of UNAMSIL’s mandate. “It is therefore imperative that it safeguard the significant progress made and stay the course until its objectives are met.”The Secretary-General notes that more than 47,000 combatants have been disarmed, nearly 25,000 weapons destroyed and 2.27 million eligible voters successfully registered ahead of the parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled for 14 May.However, Mr. Annan also points out that much work remains to be done. Following the elections, urgent attention will need to be paid to the unfinished aspects of the peace process, particularly to the extension of State authority, the re-integration of ex-combatants and the restoration of Government control over diamond mining.These efforts, the Secretary-General reports, will need to be complemented by the reactivation of the judicial system, the strengthening of law enforcement agencies and the restoration of basic public services throughout the country.The report also notes the important role to be played by the Special Court and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the post-electoral period. read more

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