SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS ON MILITARY JUNTA IN SIERRA LEONE TO TAKE STEPS FOR UNCONDITIONAL RESTORATION OF DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED GOVERNMENT

6 August 1997
SC/6408

SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS ON MILITARY JUNTA IN SIERRA LEONE TO TAKE STEPS FOR UNCONDITIONAL RESTORATION OF DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED GOVERNMENT

6 August 1997

Press ReleaseSC/6408

SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS ON MILITARY JUNTA IN SIERRA LEONE TO TAKE STEPS FOR UNCONDITIONAL RESTORATION OF DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED GOVERNMENT

19970806 Presidential Statement Declares Council's Readiness To Take 'Appropriate Measures' in Absence of Satisfactory Response from Junta

The Security Council this morning condemned the overthrow of the democratically elected government of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah of Sierra Leone and called upon the military junta to take immediate steps to bring about its unconditional restoration. The Council declared that, in the absence of a satisfactory response from the junta, it will be ready to take appropriate measures aimed at restoring that government.

Through a statement read out by its President, Sir John Weston (United Kingdom), the Council said it remained deeply concerned about the situation in Sierra Leone, which endangered peace, security and stability in the whole region. It considered that the junta's attempt to set conditions for the restoration of the democratically elected government was unacceptable and called upon the junta to renounce its declared intention to remain in power.

The Council also called on the junta to resume negotiations with the Committee of Four Foreign Ministers of the Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS) without delay. It expressed appreciation to the ECOWAS Ministers for their efforts to negotiate a peaceful resolution of the crisis and reiterated its final support for the objectives of that mediation. It deeply regretted the breakdown of those talks -- held from 17 to 18 July and from 29 to 30 July in Abidjan -- and considered that responsibility for that failure rested entirely with the junta, which refused to negotiate in good faith.

In addition, the Council condemned the continuing violence and threats of violence by the junta towards the civilian population, foreign nationals and personnel of the ECOWAS monitoring group, and called for an end to such acts. Deeply concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation and at the continued looting and commandeering of relief supplies of international agencies, the Council called upon the military junta to cease all interference with the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the people of Sierra Leone.

The Council also expressed its concern at the effects of the continuing influx of refugees into neighbouring countries, in particular Guinea, as a result of the crisis in Sierra Leone. It called upon all States and relevant international organizations to provide help to those countries in dealing with that problem. It underlined the need to implement the Abidjan Agreement which continued to serve as a viable framework for peace, stability and reconciliation.

Under the Abidjan Agreement, signed by the Government of Sierra Leone and the Revolutionary United Front on 30 November 1996, the parties declared an immediate end to the armed conflict and reaffirmed their commitment to observing the cease-fire. In a 26 January report (document S/1997/80), the Secretary-General described the Agreement as providing a framework for further democratization and equitable social and economic development.

The full text of the presidential statement, to be issued as document S/PRST/1997/42, reads as follows:

"The Security Council recalls the statements of its President of 27 May 1997 (S/PRST/1997/29) and 11 July 1997 (S/PRST/1997/36) following the military coup d'état in Sierra Leone on 25 May 1997. It condemns the overthrow of the democratically elected government of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and calls upon the miliary junta to take immediate steps to bring about the unconditional restoration of that government. The Council remains deeply concerned about the situation in Sierra Leone, which endangers peace, security and stability in the whole region.

"The Security Council underlines the need to implement the Abidjan Agreement which continues to serve as a viable framework for peace, stability and reconciliation in Sierra Leone.

"The Security Council expresses its appreciation to the Committee of Four Foreign Ministers of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for their efforts to negotiate with representatives of the military junta from 17 to 18 July and 29 to 30 July 1997 in Abidjan on a peaceful resolution of the crisis, and reiterates its full support for the objectives of this mediation. It deeply regrets the breakdown of these talks, and considers that the responsibility for this failure rests entirely with the military junta who refused to negotiate in good faith.

"The Security Council considers that the military junta's attempt to set conditions for the restoration of the democratically elected government is unacceptable, and calls upon to junta to renounce its declared intention to remain in power and to resume negotiations with the ECOWAS Committee of Four Foreign Ministers without delay.

Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6408 3809th Meeting (AM) 6 August 1997

"The Security Council will, in the absence of a satisfactory response from the military junta, be ready to take appropriate measures with the objective of restoring the democratically elected government of President Kabbah.

"The Security Council remains deeply concerned at the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Sierra Leone and at the continued looting and commandeering of relief supplies of international agencies. It calls upon the military junta to cease all interference with the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the people of Sierra Leone. The Council condemns the continuing violence and threats of violence by the junta towards the civilian population, foreign nationals and personnel of the ECOWAS monitoring group, and calls for an end to such acts of violence. The Council also expresses its concern at the effects of the continuing influx of refugees into neighbouring countries, in particular Guinea, due to the crisis in Sierra Leone. It calls upon all States and relevant international organizations to provide help to these countries in dealing with this problem.

"The Security Council will remain actively seized of this matter."

The meeting, which was called to order at 11:44 a.m., was adjourned at 11:49 a.m.

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For information media. Not an official record.