Speaking at his first press conference in Freetown, Mr. Adeniji emphasized that the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UMAMSIL) was in the West African nation at the invitation of the Government to assist with the disarmament and demobilization process. Discounting reports that the mission was slow in deploying, he pointed out that it had been less than two months since the decision of the Security Council has been taken.
"The international community is now facing its responsibility. It is not only a problem in West Africa for the West Africans," he said. "The United Nations has a primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security and when there is a disturbance of peace in any part of the world, there is no reason why the United Nations, which is often prepared to go elsewhere, should not come to Africa."
Since his arrival last Sunday, Mr. Adeniji has had meetings with the President, senior government officials, and heads of diplomatic missions and political parties, as well as representatives of the civil society, a UN spokesman said today. Mr. Adeniji also met with General Gabriel Kpamber, force commander of ECOMOG, the Economic Commission of West African States Military Observer Group, and with Johnny Paul Koromah, former rebel leader. The Special Representative said that he was looking forward to meeting Foday Sankoh as soon as he returned to Sierra Leone.