Sierra Leone

Proposed new UN team for Sierra Leone would comprise 300 staff, UN official says

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When the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) withdraws at the end of the year, the UN hopes to field a 300-member integrated support team which would not replace present UN agencies, but would provide technical support to the Government as the country emerges from civil strife, a senior UN official says.
The new UN Integrated Mission in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) would continue the work started by UNAMSIL, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), Ambassador Daudi Mwakawago, told journalists at a news conference near the West African country's capital, Freetown, yesterday.

The mission, which would comprise mainly Sierra Leoneans, is awaiting Security Council authorization and General Assembly funding. It would include 10 military advisers and 20 civilian police (CIVPOL) to monitor the security sector, he said.

"Sierra Leone is an independent State, so it should provide its own security, but the United Nations will be engaged in this country forever as Sierra Leone is a member of the UN," he said. He added that although Sierra Leoneans were the only ones that could rebuild their country, "the international community is there to help you."

Mr. Mwakawago also challenged the journalists to include coverage of positive developments so as to give the war-weary people hope.