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

Multimedia

Audio
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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid