Security Council SC/6981
4253rd Meeting (AM) 22 December 2000
SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF SIERRA LEONE MISSION UNTIL 31 MARCH,
UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1334 (2000)
Calls on Revolutionary United Front to Demonstrate
Commitment to 10 November Ceasefire Signed in Abuja, Nigeria
Expressing its concern at the continuing fragile situation in Sierra Leone and neighbouring States, the Security Council this morning decided to extend the current mandate of the United Nations Mission In Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) until 31 March 2001.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1334 (2000), the Council also expressed its intention to respond promptly to any additional specific recommendations made by the Secretary-General in the next period on the force strength and tasks of the Mission.
The Council, therefore, reiterated that the structure, capability, resources and mandate of UNAMSIL required appropriate strengthening. It strongly urged all States in a position to do so to seriously consider contributing peacekeeping forces to Sierra Leone.
By other terms of the text, the Council also expressed its concern at the failure of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) to fully meet its obligations under the ceasefire agreement signed between it and the Government of Sierra Leone in Abuja, Nigeria, on 10 November. It called on the RUF to give a more convincing demonstration of commitment to that ceasefire process.
The meeting, which started at 10:50 a.m., was adjourned at 10:53 a.m.
The complete text of resolution 1334 (2000) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its resolutions 1270 (1999) of 22 October 1999, 1289 (2000) of
7 February 2000, 1313 (2000) of 4 August 2000, 1317 (2000) of 5 September 2000, 1321 (2000) of 20 September 2000, the statement of its President of
3 November 2000 (S/PRST/2000/31), and all other relevant resolutions and the statements of its President concerning the situation in Sierra Leone,
“Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 15 December 2000 (S/2000/1199),
“1. Expresses its continued concern at the continuing fragile situation in Sierra Leone and neighbouring States;
“2. Takes note of the ceasefire agreement signed in Abuja on
10 November 2000 between the Government of Sierra Leone and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) (S/2000/1091), expresses its concern at the failure of the RUF fully to meet their obligations under the agreement, and calls on them to give a more convincing demonstration of commitment to the ceasefire and the peace process;
“3. Recalls that the main objectives of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), as set out in its resolution 1313 (2000) and confirmed in the concept of operations proposed by the Secretary-General in his report of
24 August 2000 (S/2000/832), remain to assist the efforts of the Government of Sierra Leone to extend State authority, restore law and order and further stabilize the situation progressively throughout the entire country and to assist in the promotion of the political process, leading to a renewed disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme where possible, and reiterates that, to that end, the structure, capability, resources and mandate of UNAMSIL require appropriate strengthening.
“4. Commends the continued efforts of the Secretary-General in that regard to seek further firm commitments of troops for UNAMSIL, strongly urges all States in a position to do so seriously to consider contributing peacekeeping forces for Sierra Leone, and expresses its appreciation to those States who have already made such offers;
“5. Expresses its intention, in that context, following consultations with troop-contributing countries, to respond promptly to any additional specific recommendations made by the Secretary-General in the next period on the force strength and tasks of UNAMSIL;
“6. Decides to extend the present mandate of UNAMSIL until 31 March 2001;
“7. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
Report of Secretary-General
When the Security Council met, it had before it the eighth report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Sierra Leone (document S/2000/1199). The report covers developments since his seventh report on the UNAMSIL, issued on
7 November (S/2000/1055).
The Secretary-General states that since the crisis that affected Sierra Leone in May/June 2000, the efforts of UNAMSIL and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have been focused on creating conditions conducive to a resumption of the peace process. In this regard, UNAMSIL and ECOWAS continue to pursue contacts with the leadership of the RUF.
The Secretary-General notes, however, that despite some positive developments, the situation in Sierra Leone remains precarious. In addition, the spillover effects of intense fighting along Guinea's borders with Sierra Leone and Liberia threaten not only those three countries, but also the entire region. The reported involvement of RUF in the incursions into Guinea raises further serious questions about the sincerity of their commitment to disarmament and the peace process.
According to the Secretary-General, notwithstanding the major difficulties posed by the withdrawal of Indian and Jordanian contingents simultaneously with the rotations of other contingents, UNAMSIL is pursuing efforts to consolidate its positions in its current areas of deployment.
The signing of the ceasefire agreement between the RUF and the Government of Sierra Leone constitutes a first step towards creating an environment conducive to the reactivation of the peace process, the report continues. While the RUF reaffirmed its commitment to the ceasefire at its meetings with UNAMSIL on 1,
8 and 13 December, its public statement of 14 December and its reported political demands, including the release of Foday Sankoh in exchange for access by UNAMSIL to the areas under RUF control, are a source of serious concern.
Moreover, continues the Secretary-General, there are reports suggesting that the RUF is continuing to train and arm combatants, and to fortify its military positions. The rebel group, therefore, clearly needs to demonstrate its good faith by immediately opening roads in RUF-controlled areas to all traffic, allowing United Nations access, returning to UNAMSIL all weapons seized from peacekeepers and proceeding with the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of its combatants. The Secretary-General urges the RUF not to lose this unique opportunity to return to the peace process.
The Secretary-General goes on to say that, should the RUF comply with the terms of the ceasefire agreement of 10 November, UNAMSIL will be able, after a careful evaluation of the security conditions and proper RUF guarantees, to deploy forward in a gradual and progressive manner in the discharge of its mandate. However, the evolving situation might require the Mission to expand beyond its currently authorized strength. The Secretary-General once again urges all militarily capable countries to consider contributing well-trained, well-equipped and rapidly deployable contingents to the Mission.
The Secretary-General once more recommends that the Council increase the Mission's military strength to a level of 20,500 personnel, including 260 military observers. That will be needed to enable UNAMSIL to perform additional tasks in Sierra Leone. The Security Council mission that visited Sierra Leone in October made a similar recommendation. Clearly, the forward deployment of UNAMSIL in strength will depend not only on the prevailing situation on the ground, but also on the availability of the necessary troops and other resources.
In the meantime, the Secretary-General recommends the extension of the Mission's mandate for a further period of three months, which would allow the Mission to complete its consolidation phase and respond to the requirements of the Abuja ceasefire agreement.
According to the report, the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme in Sierra Leone remains an essential element of the peace strategy. The Secretary-General appeals to all Member States concerned to contribute to the Multi-Donor Trust Fund established for that purpose by the World Bank. While UNAMSIL is ready to implement the relevant provisions of the draft joint operational plan of the programme, it might require additional resources.
The Secretary-General also emphasizes the importance of establishing an effective reintegration programme aimed at absorbing discharged ex-combatants. He calls on the Government, external implementing partners and donors to join efforts in order to strengthen the linkages between disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. Due consideration should also be given to the provision of adequate incentives to combatants to disarm.
The humanitarian situation in the country has continued to deteriorate as tens of thousands of Sierra Leonean refugees precipitously returned from Guinea, notes the Secretary-General. The existing internally displaced person and transit centres in Sierra Leone have already reached their maximum capacity, which makes it extremely difficult to respond to a further influx of returning refugees. He urges the international donor community to contribute generously to the 2001 United Nations Inter-Agency Consolidated Appeal for Sierra Leone, which was launched in November.
The challenges confronting the country remain daunting, states the Secretary-General. There is an urgent need to stabilize the areas of the country under Government control and to address the root causes of the conflict. In addition, socio-economic reconstruction, the forthcoming elections and the long-standing need to revitalize State institutions will require an inclusive and comprehensive strategy, which is actively supported by the international community. With that in mind, the Secretary-General states that he is considering the possibility of taking additional steps, including the appointment of a second Deputy Special Representative for Sierra Leone, who would closely work with the Government to address those crucial matters.
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