UN lavishes rare praise on Sierra Leone

2014-03-27 11:06

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

New York - The UN Security Council lavished rare praise Wednesday on Sierra Leone, a country once known for "blood diamonds" and rebels chopping limbs off innocent civilians, which now contributes soldiers to UN peacekeeping missions and aspires to be a middle-income country by 2030.

At a meeting formally wrapping up 15 years of the UN peacekeeping and peace-building in Sierra Leone, the council commended "the remarkable achievements" made by Sierra Leone over the past decade in strengthening institutions that are crucial to safeguarding stability and promoting democracy.

The council also commended "the effectiveness" of the United Nations, international financial institutions, regional groups and the international community in building peace in the West African nation after a long and bloody civil war that began in 1991 when rebels launched an insurrection to seize control of the government and diamond mines.

By the late 1990s, rebels from the Revolutionary United Front had begun targeting civilians, making a trademark out of hacking off the limbs of those victims they allowed to live. In May 2000, the rebels seized about 500 UN peacekeepers and kept 233 others surrounded for 2 1/2 months, severely embarrassing the United Nations and prompting a reassessment of the UN mission.

The UN force, which had an initial ceiling of 6 000 troops when it was first authorized in 1999, was beefed up to a high of 17 500 troops in March 2001. The civil war ended less than a year later, in January 2002, with the decisive intervention of UN peacekeepers and British troops.

Britain's UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said the day "marks a watershed in the history of Sierra Leone and is a moment of celebration for the people of Sierra Leone, the United Nations, and the Security Council".

Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma said in a statement read to the council by Foreign Minister Samura Kamara that the council's inspiring words provided "healing therapy for a country that has emerged from a massively devastating suffered internal conflict," and "crowns" the success of the country's transition from war to peace.

Many challenges

"A country that once received peacekeepers is now contributing peacekeepers to other countries," Koroma said. "A country that was once a byword for humanitarian crisis now has one of the fastest growing economies in the world; a country that succumbed to military dictatorship has held a succession of free and fair elections."

The Security Council and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that many challenges remain.

Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen, the UN representative to Sierra Leone, identified the key remaining challenges as tackling pervasive poverty and youth unemployment, endemic corruption, upholding the rule of law, and widening "the political space" which should be done during the current review of the country's constitution.

Koroma said the government has taken "a collective decision to move towards becoming a middle-income nation by 2030".

"The journey has been a challenging one, and there are remaining challenges, but there shall be no turning back," the president said. "We shall continue to be a force for peace in the world, a symbol, a symbol of successful transformation and a partner for peace, security, democracy and development."

As the foreign minister read Koroma's final words, the Security Council — in an unusual gesture — burst into applause.

The UN political mission, which replaced the peacekeeping mission in 2008, will cease to exist when its mandate expires on 31 March. The United Nations will then be represented by a country team with representatives from different agencies, as it is in many other countries, assisted for the next year by the UN Peace-building Commission.
- AP
Read more on:    un  |  ernest bai koroma  |  ban ki-moon  |  sierra leone  |  blood diamonds  |  west africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You are in a curious mood and you want to be the first to know what is happening. You may find yourself drawn into cyber chatting...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.