HC Deb 13 November 2001 vol 374 cc662-3W
Dr. Julian Lewis

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the security situation in Sierra Leone. [13402]

Mr. Bradshaw

The security situation in Sierra Leone has improved dramatically over the past six months. We have continued to play a major role in Sierra Leone during this period. We have completed the initial training of an effective and accountable Sierra Leone Army. We have helped train the Sierra Leonean police force. We have worked with the UN on the Disarmament Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) programme and to move forward the deployment of UNAMS IL throughout the country. We have maintained close links with regional leaders, especially Presidents Obasanjo of Nigeria and Konare of Mali, to ensure full and successful implementation of the Abuja Agreement. The Revolutionary United Front is now transforming itself into a political party. As DDR continues, The Government of Sierra Leone are able to extend their authority across the country, ahead of elections now scheduled for 14 May 2002. A sustainable peace is now within our grasp.

But major challenges remain, both before and after the elections. We will continue to work with the Government of Sierra Leone, the United Nations and regional and international partners to help the Sierra Leonean Government consolidated the peace, prepare for and hold free and fair elections, and mobilise resources to rehabilitate Sierra Leone's shattered communities, institutions and economy.

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