SECRETARY-GENERAL EXPRESSES HOPE THAT INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
WILL SUPPORT SIERRA LEONE DISARMAMENT PROGRAMME
Following is the text of the message by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Second Pledging Conference for the Sierra Leone Programme on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration, delivered by Oluyemi Adeniji, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone, in Paris, 11–12 June 2001:
It gives me great pleasure to send my greetings to all the participants in the Second Pledging Conference on the Sierra Leone Programme on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR).
You meet at a very opportune moment, as significant progress is being made in the Sierra Leone peace process. Past efforts to resolve the long-standing conflict in the country were modestly successful, only to be reversed by fresh resort to arms. But in the period since the resumption of the DDR programme on
18 May 2001, the number of combatants that have been disarmed and are going through the DDR programme has been impressive. In addition, the disarmament of the RUF combatants from the Kambia region, and the orderly and peaceful deployment of the SLA in that district, has not only resolved an important aspect of the Sierra Leone conflict, but could also contribute to improved stability in the Mano River Union and create a safe route for Sierra Leonean refugees who wish to return to their country from Guinea.
The latest agreement to continue the DDR programme in the Kono and Bonthe districts this month is also very encouraging. Indeed, the pace of implementation is running ahead of our ability to provide the necessary infrastructures. Moreover, the speed of disarmament will shortly outstrip the resources available in the multi-donor trust fund for the programme.
That is where your role is so crucial. I hope that the international community will respond promptly and adequately with pledges to support the various aspects of the programme. If the DDR programme is to do its part in bringing peace to Sierra Leone, we must do all we can to provide ex‑combatants with an alternative to a life of violence through well-funded integration projects. I thank the far-sighted donors who have recognized this need and contributed generously. And I wish all of you a successful conference.
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