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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs