October 6

Annan recommends 6month extension of UN mission in Sierra Leone

In his latest report to the Council on the activities of the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), Mr. Annan says “there were no major incidents that threatened the prevailing stability in the country.””The further progress achieved towards peace consolidation in Sierra Leone and the overall security environment in the country have enabled UNAMSIL to continue the progressive drawdown of its military component as approved by the Security Council,” he states.The Secretary-General stresses, however, that serious challenges remain despite these encouraging developments. “The lack of adequate equipment and infrastructure remains a critical element in enhancing the capacity of Sierra Leone police and army and in enabling them to effectively take over the responsibilities for security throughout the country, especially in the border areas,” he says.Much also remains to be done to strengthen the presence of the local police in the areas vacated by UNAMSIL. The current planning indicates that the target of bringing the Sierra Leone police to its pre-war level of 9,500 may be achieved by the end of 2005, a year after the mission leaves.”Once again, I urge the Government and its international partners to expeditiously address the logistical and infrastructure needs of both the police and the army,” Mr. Annan says.As for the control of diamond mining, he commends the Government’s efforts to address this issue and stresses that “action must be taken rapidly, however, to ensure that the national diamond industry is effectively regulated for the benefit of the whole country.”Mr. Annan also praised the country for progress made in the reintegration of former combatants, the improvement of the situation of human rights and the rule of law. read more