SECURITY COUNCIL AUTHORIZES DEPLOYMENT OF UP TO 10 MILITARY LIAISON AND SECURITY ADVISORY PERSONNEL TO SIERRA LEONE

17 April 1998
SC/6504

SECURITY COUNCIL AUTHORIZES DEPLOYMENT OF UP TO 10 MILITARY LIAISON AND SECURITY ADVISORY PERSONNEL TO SIERRA LEONE

17 April 1998

Press ReleaseSC/6504

SECURITY COUNCIL AUTHORIZES DEPLOYMENT OF UP TO 10 MILITARY LIAISON AND SECURITY ADVISORY PERSONNEL TO SIERRA LEONE

19980417 The Security Council this afternoon authorized the deployment, with immediate effect, of up to 10 United Nations military and security advisory personnel to Sierra Leone for up to 90 days to perform a range of functions, including reporting on the military situation in that country.

The officers, who will work under the authority of the Secretary- General's Special Envoy, Francis G. Okelo, will coordinate closely with the Government of Sierra Leone and the Economic Community of West African States Military Observer Group (ECOMOG). Among other functions, they will ascertain the state of and assist in finalizing planning by ECOMOG for future tasks, such as the identification of former combatant elements to be disarmed and the design of a disarmament plan.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1162 (1998), the Council welcomed discussions under way between the Secretary-General's Special Envoy, the Government of Sierra Leone and ECOMOG on the further elaboration and implementation of ECOMOG's concept of operations. Welcoming the Secretary- General's intention to submit further recommendations on the possible deployment of United Nations military personnel, the Council expressed its intention to consider them and to take a decision expeditiously.

Also by the resolution, the Council emphasized the need to promote national reconciliation, and encouraged all parties to work together towards that objective. It welcomed the efforts of the democratically elected President of Sierra Leone, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, since his return on 10 March and by his Government, to restore peaceful and secure conditions, to re-establish effective administration and the democratic process and to embark on reconstruction and rehabilitation. The Council commended the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and ECOMOG on the important role they were playing in support of the objectives related to the restoration of peace and security.

All States and international organizations were urged to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to the country and encouraged to participate in the longer-term tasks of its reconstruction and development. The Council also urged all States to contribute to the trust fund established to support peacekeeping and related activities there and to provide technical and logistical support to assist ECOMOG to continue its peacekeeping role.

The meeting, which was called to order at 4:16 p.m., was adjourned at 4:19 p.m.

Text of Resolution

The text of resolution 1162 (1998) reads as follows:

"The Security Council,

"Recalling its resolutions 1132 (1997) of 8 October 1997 and 1156 (1998) of 16 March 1998 and the statement of its President of 26 February 1998,

"Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General of 18 March 1998 (S/1998/249),

"1. Welcomes the efforts made by the democratically elected President of Sierra Leone since his return on 10 March 1998 and by the Government of Sierra Leone to restore peaceful and secure conditions in the country, to re-establish effective administration and the democratic process and to embark on the task of reconstruction and rehabilitation;

"2. Commends the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and its Military Observer Group (ECOMOG), deployed in Sierra Leone, on the important role they are playing in support of the objectives related to the restoration of peace and security set out in paragraph 1 above;

"3. Emphasizes the need to promote national reconciliation in Sierra Leone, and encourages all parties in the country to work together towards this objective;

"4. Notes with satisfaction the steps taken by the Secretary-General to strengthen the office of his Special Envoy in Freetown with necessary civilian and military personnel with the aims proposed in his report of 18 March 1998;

"5. Authorizes the deployment, with immediate effect, of up to ten United Nations military liaison and security advisory personnel in accordance with paragraph 44 of the report of the Secretary-General of 18 March 1998 to Sierra Leone for a period of up to 90 days, to work under the authority of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, to coordinate closely with the Government of Sierra Leone and ECOMOG, to report on the military situation in the country, to ascertain the state of and to assist in the finalization of planning by ECOMOG for future tasks, such as the identification of the former combatant elements to be disarmed and the design of a disarmament plan, as well as to perform other related security tasks as identified in paragraphs 42, 45 and 46 of the report of the Secretary-General of 18 March 1998;

Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6504 3872nd Meeting (PM) 17 April 1998

"6. Welcomes the discussions taking place between the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, the Government of Sierra Leone and ECOMOG on the further elaboration and implementation of the ECOMOG concept of operations, and the intention of the Secretary-General to revert to the Council with further recommendations on the possible deployment in this regard of United Nations military personnel, and expresses its intention to consider such recommendations and take a decision thereon expeditiously;

"7. Urges all States and international organizations to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to Sierra Leone, in response to the consolidated inter-agency appeal launched on 3 March 1998;

"8. Encourages all States and international organizations to assist and participate in the longer term tasks of reconstruction and economic and social recovery and development in Sierra Leone;

"9. Urges all States to make contributions to the Trust Fund which has been established to support peacekeeping and related activities in Sierra Leone, and to provide technical and logistical support to assist ECOMOG to continue to carry out its peacekeeping role;

"10. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council periodically, including on the activities of the military liaison and security advisory personnel referred to in paragraph 5 above and on the work of the office of his Special Envoy in Sierra Leone, within the reporting time-frame in paragraph 16 of resolution 1132 (1997);

"11. Decides to remain seized of the matter."

Secretary-General's Report

In considering the situation in Sierra Leone, the Council had before it a report of the Secretary-General covering developments in that country since 5 February (S/1998/249). The report is submitted pursuant to the presidential statement issued by the Council on 26 February (S/PRST/1998/5), by which the Secretary-General was asked to supply detailed proposals concerning the role of the United Nations and its future presence in Sierra Leone.

In his report, the Secretary-General recommends the deployment to Sierra Leone of up to 10 United Nations military liaison officers to liaise closely with ECOMOG and to report on the military situation there. It would also ascertain the state of and assist in the finalization of planning by the ECOMOG for future tasks, such as the identification of the former combatant elements to be disarmed and the design of a disarmament plan.

Security Council - 4 - Press Release SC/6504 3872nd Meeting (PM) 17 April 1998

Under the authority of the Special Envoy, the military liaison team would complement the role of the military advisers who would continue to assist the Government in resolving disarmament related issues, the report continues. They will also assist in the planning for bilateral programmes to restructure and rebuild appropriate security forces. In view of the importance of such retraining, potential donors should contribute bilateral assistance. The officers, perhaps later supplemented by human rights observers, could also assist in the national reconciliation process. Their close cooperation with ECOMOG in the countryside and their impartial reporting to the Special Envoy would reassure former combatants they can safely surrender their weapons.

The report states that the removal of the junta by ECOMOG has opened the way for the re-establishment not just of the legitimate Government, but also of civil order, the democratic process and the beginnings of economic and social development. The return of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah to Freetown on 10 March therefore presents the people of Sierra Leone and the international community with a challenge and an opportunity "which must be grasped with a sense of urgency".

The Secretary-General calls on ECOWAS and ECOMOG to continue their efforts to bring peace to the country. In addition, he salutes the courage of the Sierra Leonean people and honours the memory of those who died opposing the junta. The United Nations should assist President Kabbah's Government in every possible way to promote national reconciliation and to strengthen the authority and capacity of his Government.

In order to take full advantage of the changed situation, the Secretary- General indicates that he wishes to propose a comprehensive set of measures to assist the Government and people of Sierra Leone in both their immediate and longer-term needs. As a first step, he intends to strengthen the office of his Special Envoy in Freetown, including the possible deployment of human rights observers. Meanwhile, a human rights officer will be assigned to the office of the Special Envoy, as well as possibly two civilian police officials to advise the Government on police training and procedures in a democratic society. An additional political officer and a military adviser would assist the Special Envoy in his consultations with ECOMOG on disarmament and demobilization plans. A humanitarian officer would facilitate the coordination of the activities of the United Nations and non-governmental organizations.

Security Council - 5 - Press Release SC/6504 3872nd Meeting (PM) 17 April 1998

The provision of humanitarian assistance must also proceed expeditiously, the Secretary-General states. The plight of Sierra Leoneans deprived of food, medical care and shelter by the recent fighting and abuses of junta rule is acute and must be addressed as a matter of urgency. While he remains deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in many parts of the country, news that humanitarian needs were beginning to be addressed was encouraging. Food aid and emergency medical supplies have entered the country through Freetown and have been delivered to some provinces by plane, helicopter and overland in a prompt and coordinated manner.

Continuing, the Secretary-General calls on Member States to contribute generously to the Trust Fund for Sierra Leone. He expressed appreciation of the announcement by the United Kingdom of its readiness to contribute 2 million pounds, and of its assistance in providing aid to the population. Member States are urged to provide generous assistance to ECOMOG to enable it to meet its logistical requirements and to fulfil its mandate.

In conclusion, the Secretary-General states that the past year's events in Sierra Leone carry a warning that similar crises may arise and challenge the international community. While democracy may have deep roots in Sierra Leone, "it is a fragile plant and must be nurtured". As such, the international community must maintain its vigilance and support, not least in the prompt provision of emergency bilateral and multilateral aid. Assistance is also required for the efforts of ECOWAS and the logistical requirements of ECOMOG as it continues its deployment through the countryside.

* *** *

For information media. Not an official record.