SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS SIERRA LEONE MISSION UNTIL 30 SEPTEMBER, UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1470 (2003)

28 March 2003
SC/7710

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS SIERRA LEONE MISSION UNTIL 30 SEPTEMBER, UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1470 (2003)

28/03/2003
Press ReleaseSC/7710

Security Council

4729th Meeting (PM)

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS SIERRA LEONE MISSION UNTIL 30 SEPTEMBER,

UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1470 (2003)

The Security Council this afternoon extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) for six months, beginning 30 March 2003.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1470 (2003), the Council urged UNAMSIL to take responsibility for internal and external security, and to complete phase two and enact phase three of the Mission’s drawdown plan, as presented in the Secretary-General’s fifteenth report (document S/2002/987).  It also expressed concern at the continuing financial shortfall in the multi-donor Trust Fund for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme, and urged the Sierra Leonean Government to seek urgently needed additional resources for reintegration.

Further to the text, the Council stressed that developing the administrative capacities of the Sierra Leonean Government, particularly an effective and sustainable police force, army, penal system and independent judiciary, was essential to long-term peace and development.  It urged the Sierra Leonean Government, with the assistance of donors and UNAMSIL, to accelerate the consolidation of civil authority and public services throughout the country, and to strengthen the operational effectiveness and capabilities of the security sector.

Noting efforts made by the Government of Sierra Leone to effectively control diamond-mining areas, the Council also urged the Sierra Leonean Government to consider urgent policy options for more effective regulation and control of diamond-mining activities, and encouraged it to adopt and implement such a policy as soon as possible.

Also by the draft, the Council called on States, international organizations and non-governmental organizations to continue supporting the National Recovery Strategy of the Sierra Leonean Government.  It welcomed the launch of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as well as progress made in its activities, and urged donors to generously commit funds to it.

In addition, the Council urged the Presidents of the Mano River Union member States to resume dialogue and implement their commitments to building regional peace and security, and encouraged the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Morocco to continue their efforts towards a settlement of the crisis in the Mano River Union region.  It also encouraged the Government of Sierra Leone to pay special attention to the needs of women and children affected by the war.

The meeting began at 12:16 p.m. and adjourned at 12:19 p.m.

Background

When the Council met, it had before it the seventeenth report of the Secretary-General on UNAMSIL (document S/2003/321).  In resolution 1436 of

24 September 2002, the Council had urged UNAMSIL to complete, within eight months, the first and second phases of the Mission’s drawdown plan, as presented in the Secretary-General’s fifteenth report (document S/2002/987).  The Council had also requested the Secretary-General to report on the progress made and the planning of subsequent phases, and to make any necessary recommendations.

By the same resolution, the Council authorized the deployment of up to

170 civilian police in UNAMSIL and requested the Secretary-General to provide updates on their deployment.  The present report provides the requested updates, and contains an assessment of the progress made towards achieving the key security benchmarks set out in the fifteenth report concerning the overall efforts to consolidate peace in Sierra Leone.

The Secretary-General’s fifteenth report presented detailed proposals for the drawdown of the Mission, which is guided by progress in the implementation of the key security benchmark:  building up the capacity of the Sierra Leone police and army.  Developments over recent months have proved the prudence of pursuing a gradual drawdown consistent with progress made in achieving this benchmark.

While the efforts of those concerned have gone a long way towards enhancing the capacity and training of the Sierra Leone Armed Forces and police, the first serious challenges posed recently to both security institutions have exposed the existence of considerable shortcomings.  Additional efforts will be needed to enhance the capacity of the security sector in Sierra Leone.

These developments should not be interpreted to mean that the generally positive security trends in Sierra Leone have suffered a fundamental reversal.  Nonetheless, it should be noted that a government capacity to maintain internal and external security without any assistance from UNAMSIL has yet to be attained.  Therefore, a cautious approach to the pace of the drawdown is fully justifiable.

In this connection, much still needs to be done to strengthen the presence of the Sierra Leone police in the areas being vacated by UNAMSIL.  Particularly important are the efforts to mobilize the requisite equipment and logistical support for such a deployment, which is lagging behind.  The Secretary-General urges the Government and its partners to address on an urgent basis the logistical and infrastructure needs of both the police and the Sierra Leone Armed Forces.

The commencement of indictments by the Special Court also carries with it considerable security challenges.  It is important to ensure that the Sierra Leone police and prison authorities have the requisite capacity to ensure secure custody of those apprehended.  There is also a need for close coordination between the Special Court and UNAMSIL in the context of the possible impact of the indictments on the overall security situation in the country.

Given the various developments in the country, the Secretary-General confirmed the need for the gradual continued drawdown of UNAMSIL, as proposed in his fifteenth report.  He also recommends that the Council approve the proposals set out in the present report relating to the drawdown.  Further, he recommends the extension of UNAMSIL’s mandate for a further six months, until 30 September. 

The report adds that the security and stability of Sierra Leone could not be fully ensured while the conflict in Liberia persists.  While Sierra Leone had been able to cope with the influx of refugees, with assistance from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and UNAMSIL, a humanitarian emergency could arise if a greater influx of refugees were to result from the continuing conflict.  The Secretary-General, therefore, appeals to the international community to engage constructively in Liberia to bring the conflict to an early end.

Council Resolution

The full text of resolution 1470 (2003) reads, as follows:

The Security Council,

Recalling its previous resolutions and the statements of its President concerning the situation in Sierra Leone,

Affirming the commitment of all States to respect the sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity of Sierra Leone,

Expressing its concern at the continuing fragile security situation in the Mano River region, particularly the conflict in Liberia and its consequences for neighbouring States, including Côte d’Ivoire, and at the substantial number of refugees and the humanitarian consequences for the civilian, refugee and internally displaced populations in the region, and emphasizing the importance of cooperation among the countries of the subregion,

Recognizing that the security situation in Sierra Leone remains fragile, and recognizing the need to strengthen further the capacity, and to mobilize the resources, of the Sierra Leone Police and armed forces to enable them to maintain security and stability independently,

Noting certain recent challenges to security described in paragraphs 2 to 9 of the Secretary-General’s report of 17 March 2003 (S/2003/321),

Reiterating the importance of the effective consolidation of State authority throughout Sierra Leone, particularly in the diamond fields, the reintegration of ex-combatants, voluntary and unhindered return of refugees and internally displaced persons, and full respect for human rights and the rule of law, paying special attention to the protection of women and children, and stressing continued United Nations support to the Government of Sierra Leone in fulfilling these objectives,

Emphasizing the importance of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in taking effective action on impunity and accountability and in promoting reconciliation,

Emphasizing the importance of the continuing support of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) to the Government of Sierra Leone in the consolidation of peace and stability,

Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 17 March 2003 (S/2003/321),

“1.Decides that the mandate of UNAMSIL shall be extended for a period of six months from 30 March 2003;

“2.Expresses its appreciation to those Member States providing troops, civilian police personnel and support elements to UNAMSIL and those who have made commitments to do so;

“3.Commends UNAMSIL for the progress made in the adjustments to its size, composition and deployment, as outlined in paragraphs 10 and 11 of the Secretary-General’s report of 17 March 2003 (S/2003/321), achieved while continuing to support the Sierra Leonean security forces in maintaining internal security and protecting Sierra Leone’s territorial integrity;

“4.Urges UNAMSIL, guided by an evaluation of the security situation and the capacity and ability of the Sierra Leonean security sector to take responsibility for internal and external security, to complete phase 2 of the Secretary-General’s plan as planned and to embark on phase 3 as soon as practicable thereafter;

“5.Requests the Secretary-General to provide the Council with detailed plans for the remainder of the drawdown once phase 3 is under way, including options for faster and slower withdrawal depending on the security situation and the capacity and ability of the Sierra Leonean security sector to take responsibility for internal and external security;

“6.Expresses concern at the continuing financial shortfall in the multi-donor Trust Fund for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme, and urges the Government of Sierra Leone to seek actively the urgently needed additional resources for reintegration;

“7.Emphasizes that the development of the administrative capacities of the Government of Sierra Leone, particularly and effective and sustainable police force, army, penal system and independent judiciary, is essential to long-term peace and development, and urges the Government of Sierra Leone, with the assistance of donors and UNAMSIL, in accordance with its mandate, to accelerate the consolidation of civil authority and public services throughout the country, and to strengthen the operational effectiveness and capabilities of the security sector;

“8.Calls on States, international organizations and non-governmental organizations to continue to support the National Recovery Strategy of the Government of Sierra Leone;

“9.Notes the efforts made by the Government of Sierra Leone towards effective control of the diamond mining areas, urges the Government of Sierra Leone to consider urgently relevant policy options for more effective regulation

and control of diamond mining activities, and encourages the Government of Sierra Leoneto adopt and implement such a policy as soon as possible;

“10.Welcomes the progress with deployment of United Nations civilian police to UNAMSIL and urges Member States able to do so to provide qualified civilian police trainers and advisers, and resources, to help the Sierra Leone Police to fulfil its size and capacity targets;

“11.Reiterates its strong support for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, appeals to States to contribute generously to the Trust Fund for the Special Court, as requested in the Secretary-General’s letter of 18 March 2003, appeals to existing donors to disburse their pledges rapidly, and urges all States to cooperate fully with the Court;

“12.Welcomes the launch of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and progress made in its activities, and urges donors to commit funds to it generously;

“13.Urges the Presidents of the Mano River Union member States to resume dialogue and to implement their commitments to building regional peace and security, encourages the Economic Community of West African States and Morocco to continue their efforts towards a settlement of the crisis in the Mano River Union region, and expresses its support for the efforts of the International Contact Group on Liberia towards a resolution of the conflict in that country;

“14.Notes with concern the recent instability on the border between Sierra Leone and Liberia, demands that the armed forces of Liberia and any armed groups refrain from illegal incursions into the territory of Sierra Leone, calls upon all States to comply fully with all relevant resolutions of the Council, including the embargo on all deliveries of weapons and military equipment to Liberia, and encourages the Sierra Leonean armed forces, together with UNAMSIL, to maintain intensive patrolling of the border with Liberia;

“15.Encourages the Government of Sierra Leone to pay special attention to the needs of women and children affected by the war, bearing in mind paragraph 42 of the report of the Secretary-General of 17 March 2003 (S/2003/321);

“16.Encourages the continued support of UNAMSIL, within its capabilities and areas of deployment, for the voluntary return of refugees and displaced persons, and urges all stakeholders to continue to cooperate to this end to fulfil their commitments under the Abuja Ceasefire Agreement of 10 November 2000 (S/2000/1091);

“17.Welcomes the Secretary-General’s intention to keep the security, political, humanitarian and human rights situation in Sierra Leone under close review and to report to the Council, after due consultations with troop-contributing countries and the Government of Sierra Leone, with any additional recommendations;

“18.Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”

* *** *

For information media. Not an official record.