News / Africa

Sierra Leone Foreign Minister Hails End to U.N. Sanctions

Zainab Bangura says lifting the sanctions means the country has moved one more step away from the legacy of its bloody past


James Butty

Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister, Zainab Bangura, told VOA the decision by the U.N. Security Council Wednesday to lift sanctions against Sierra Leone is an indication that her country is now ready to focus on national development.

Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koromah
Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koromah

The 15-member body voted unanimously to remove the sanctions, including an arms embargo, imposed during the country’s 11-year civil war.

Bangura said the government of President Ernest Bai Koromah initiated the process to lift the sanctions in collaboration with the British government.

“We are, of course, excited, but this was an initiative taken by the Sierra Leone government under the instruction of President Koromah. He had instructed the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and we then further instructed our mission and we worked through the British member of the Security Council because we realized that it is important for us to now move to a more development-oriented agenda taking into consideration the president’s agenda for change,” she said.

More than 50,000 people were killed and many others mutilated during Sierra Leone's civil war from 1991 to 2002.

Bangura said the lifting of the sanctions means Sierra Leone has moved one step away from the legacy of its bloody past.

“I think we are all proud today as a country that, finally, it has been recognized internationally within the United Nations that Sierra Leone is now ready to take the major step of development,” Bangura said.

The Security Council resolution called for more action on the part of the Koromah government to deal with corruption and ensure free and fair elections in 2012.

Bangura said her government has taken major steps to fight corruption.

“We have one of the most robust anti-corruption legislation which took into consideration the African Union convention against corruption, as well as the United Nations convention against corruption. And, we have just appointed a new commissioner who, we believe, will follow up the vision of President Koromah to make sure that the fight against corruption is actually taken to the last step,” Bangura said.

The U.N. resolution also called on the Koromah government to do everything possible to make sure that general elections scheduled for 2012 are free and fair.

Bangura said the government is working closely with the electoral commission to ensure free and fair elections in 2011.

“With regards to elections, we are going to have four elections in Sierra Leone next year – presidential, parliamentary, local government, as well as mayoral election. And, it is the first time in the history of the country that we are going to have those elections. So, obviously, we all realize that it’s going to be a big challenge for us, but we are ready with some modalities (ideas) in place, and a lot of effort is being made with the Ministry of Finance is working very closely with the electoral commission to mobilize the resources to make sure that the election is free and fair,” Bangura said.

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said Wednesday, while Sierra Leone has made tremendous progress, challenges such as political intolerance, youth unemployment and drug trafficking remain.

Bangura said Sierra Leone under President Koromah enjoys political tolerance.

“When I addressed the Security Council, I did mention that President Koromah insisted that he is a president for the whole of Sierra Leone, and I think anybody with different political view has a right to say what they want to say and the right to exercise their right. So, with regards to political tolerance, I think you will hardly find a country that experiences more political tolerance than Sierra Leone,” Bangura said.

Access to diamonds was said to have been one of the causes of Sierra Leone’s 11-year civil war.

Bangura said Sierra Leone has no problem with diamonds today.

“As you know, we are part of the Kimberley Process. So, as far as Sierra Leone is concerned, we do not have a problem. The mining and exploration of diamonds is taking place under supervision and within the framework of the Kimberley Process,” she said.

You May Like

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs