Freetown, Sierra Leone

15 November 2007

Secretary-General's mesage on the inauguration of H.E. President Ernest Bai Koroma [delivered by Ms. Carolyn McAskie, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support]

I extend my warmest congratulations to President Ernest Bai Koroma on his inauguration as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. I also congratulate the people of Sierra Leone who, through a peaceful and transparent electoral process, have given President Koroma a mandate to lead the nation forward on its journey towards lasting peace, stability and prosperity.

With the elections successfully concluded, Sierra Leone faces an era of hope. The people are waiting to see tangible improvements in their lives. They are looking to their new Government to remain steadfastly committed to consolidating peace, ensuring sustained economic growth and healing ethnic and national wounds. The road ahead will not be easy. The Government will need to focus on strengthening governance, rule of law and the protection of human rights, stimulating economic growth, building the capacity of critical State institutions, delivering basic services, fostering national reconciliation and addressing the root causes of the country's conflict. I commend President Koroma on the initiatives already taken to build an inclusive Government, to address corruption and to expedite the delivery of basic services to the population.

The United Nations has played an important role in supporting Sierra Leone's efforts in peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. We share your pride today. Let me assure you, Mr. President and the people of Sierra Leone, of the continued support of the United Nations family, including the Peacebuilding Commission, as you lay the foundation for a better future built on peace, stability, democracy and the rule of law. Today, I wish all of you the strength and courage to continue to build a nation of which you can all be proud.