In his latest report on the situation in the country, Mr. Annan said he continued to be "very concerned about the often negative and confusing approach taken by [Revolutionary United Front leader] Foday Sankoh to key elements of the peace process and the role entrusted to the United Nations."
"The present situation gives rise to serious doubts about the commitment of Mr. Sankoh and the RUF to the faithful implementation of the Peace Agreement," Mr. Annan added, calling on the RUF leader to "dispel these doubts in a tangible and unequivocal manner.
Outlining the challenges lying ahead in the peace process, the Secretary-General said that for it to succeed it was imperative that the leaders of the Government of Sierra Leone and the leaders of the RUF and other groups showed real commitment to the implementation of the Lomé accord. Any differences of opinion between them should be expressed in an "open, constructive and democratic manner," Mr. Annas stressed.
The report also noted that the humanitarian needs of the people of Sierra Leone could not be met in all parts of the country, which was a source of major concern. "The rapid implementation of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process could significantly facilitate the work of the humanitarian community in delivering much-needed assistance to all groups in need," the Secretary-General underscored.
According to the report, as of 1 March, the strength of the military component of the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) had reached nearly 7,400 personnel, including 260 military observers.