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Sierra Leone Refutes Rumors It Voted Against Nigeria's Security Council Membership

By James Butty
16 October 2009

Sierra Leone is denying allegations that its ambassador to the United Nations voted against Nigeria's membership on the UN Security Council.

Some Nigerians had alleged that Sierra Leone and Liberia voted against Nigeria's membership.

But Sierra Leone Foreign Minister Zainab Bangura said her country will forever remain grateful to Nigeria for the support it received from Nigeria during the Sierra Leone civil war.

Bangura said Nigeria's election to the Security Council was the result of a concerted African effort.

"I knew when the voting was going on; I had given instructions to the Permanent Representative to New York on how we should vote. In addition to that, a decision had already been made at the ECOWAS level that the entire ECOWAS membership should vote for Nigeria. That was endorsed at the African Union. So there is no way Sierra Leone can vote against Nigeria," she said.

Bangura said her country is appreciative of Nigeria's contribution during Sierra Leone's civil war.

"Sierra Leone is a country that is very grateful for what we have benefited from Nigeria. The two presidents – President Yar'Adua and President Koroma have an exceptionally wonderful relationship," Bangura said.

She said rumors that Sierra Leone voted against Nigeria's membership in the UN Security Council were being circulated by people who Bangura said are not interested in the good relations between Nigeria and Sierra Leone on the one hand and Nigeria and Liberia on the other.

"If there are any two countries in West Africa that have benefited from the generosity of Nigeria in terms of what Nigeria has done because of the wars in both Liberia and Sierra Leone, I think it's those two countries," Bangura said.

She said Nigeria was the best choice for West Africa and the African Union given the role it has played in the region as well as Nigeria's current status as chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

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