Ban Ki Moon addresses President Koroma
I am pleased to be back in Sierra Leone on my second visit as United Nations Secretary-General.
I am honoured to join the Government and people of Sierra Leone in celebrating the completion of the UN Integrated Peace Building Office (UNIPSIL).
This marks the end of more than 15 years of successive peace and political operations that all played critical roles in supporting Sierra Leone’s remarkable transition from war to peace.
Sierra Leone represents one of the world’s most successful cases of post conflict recovery, peace keeping and peace building. Here we have seen great strides towards peace, stability and long term development.
The transition from UNIPSIL-a political mission-to a more development focused UN presence testifies to the determination of the Sierra Leonean people to put the war behind them.
The international community has stayed the course through the challenging process of keeping, consolidating and building peace. Other countries that are now torn by war can draw hope from Sierra Leone’s inspiring example of the power of international solidarity and national resolve to overcome even the most brutal conflict.
President Ernest Bai Koroma and I just had a very constructive discussion on a number of issues, including the continued cooperation between the UN and the Government.
Later today, I will meet with representatives of the political parties as well as civil society.
I commend all Sierra Leoneans for completing three peaceful and democratic elections since the end of the civil war, accompanied along the way by the United Nations.
I am especially pleased that the Sierra Leone Police and Armed Forces are serving in United Nations in African Union peace operations in Darfur, Lebanon, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.
This is a powerful example of the country’s progress and the growing professionalism and institutional development of its security forces. It is also a strong vote of confidence in the value of UN blue helmets from a country that once hosted the largest UN peacekeeping operation in the world in its day.
Today we will formally close UNIPSIL but the UN Country Team will continue to accompany the people and Government of Sierra Leone on the journey to long-term development.
The specialized agencies will carry forward some of UNIPSIL’s residual tasks, including support for the ongoing constitutional review process
We are also finalizing the UN Development Assistance Framework to support the Government’s Agenda for prosperity.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As we mark the successful completion of UNIPSIL’s mandate, we recognize that efforts must continue to build a more peaceful democratic and prosperous country based on the principles of the rule of law and good governance.
I am confident that Sierra Leone will further advance towards a better future.
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