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Mandate of UN peacebuilding office in Sierra Leone extended for another year

14 September 2011 – The Security Council today extended for another year the mandate of the United Nations office that is helping Sierra Leone on its journey towards becoming a stable, peaceful and democratic country.

In his most recent report on the activities of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL), Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had requested that the Council extend the mission so that it can continue its assistance to the Government, including in relation to the preparations for the national and local elections in 2012.

“The renewal will also enable UNIPSIL to continue its peace consolidation and national reconciliation efforts, its support for good governance reforms, as well as tackling anti-corruption, drug trafficking and organized crime, addressing youth unemployment and building support for international donor assistance,” Mr. Ban wrote.

Acting unanimously, the Council adopted a resolution extending UNIPSIL’s mandate until 15 September 2012, and calling on the Government, political parties and all stakeholders to contribute to ensuring that next year’s elections are peaceful, transparent, free and fair.

Earlier this week, the head of UNIPSIL, Michael von der Schulenburg, told the Council that Sierra Leone – which emerged from a brutal civil war in 2002, with the assistance of a UN peacekeeping force – remains on track to become a stable democracy with a viable economy, but recent violent incidents between rival political groups have highlighted the potential for unrest.

Mr. von der Schulenburg, who is also the Secretary-General’s Executive Representative for Sierra Leone, urged the West African country’s politicians not to forget what the nation has achieved, build on those accomplishments and conduct their affairs responsibly.

“Elections are still one and a half years away and this must not start to embitter the social and political climate in Sierra Leone,” he stated.

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