Allow me first to thank Mr. Toyberg-Frandzen, Executive Representative of the Secretary-General, for his presentation. I also commend the intervention of Mr. Guillermo Rishchynski, Chair of the Sierra Leone configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC). I of course welcome the presence among us of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Sierra Leone. On behalf of France, I would like to welcome this historic time for Sierra Leone. I would like to focus on three aspects of the situation in the country.
Since the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement in 2002, Sierra Leone has followed an exemplary path. The closing of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) is the happy conclusion of 15 years’ of United Nations activity in that country. Such success is of course primarily that of the people of Sierra Leone themelves, whose resilience and determination to rebuild their country after the crisis must be admired. It is also an example of the successful role of the United Nations in the stabilization.
Since that time, the country has undergone three peaceful elections. The political situation is stable. Economic growth should continue thanks to the Government’s readiness to improve the business climate and to encourage key investments. Sierra Leone has therefore made significant progress on all fronts. The United Nations has contributed to that positive development by supporting the Sierra Leone authorities at every stage. I would like to commend the successful and steady management of the transition thanks, in particular, to the remarkable work of the United Nations team under the coordination of Mr. Toyberg-Frandzen. Lessons should be drawn from that success. Where possible, the United Nations should leave a clear path for the country to take full control of its destiny.
However, as we know, Sierra Leone stil faces challenges. The constitutional reform under way is a historic step in dealing with the root causes of conflict in the country. The efforts of President Koroma to promote political dialogue should come to fruition. All sectors of society should talk and work together. The general elections of 2017 and 2018 will be a true test of democracy, and we will watch their smooth development carefully. The management of national resources could, unfortunately, be a source of communal conflict. Fighting corruption should therefore continue to be a priority for the Government. The United Nations country team should bear that in mind.
Finally, the closure of UNIPSIL does not stop the international community from carefully following the Sierra Leone’s development in the years to come. In that regard, I am pleased to welcome the draft presidential statement that we will be adopting shortly. The Security Council calls for the international community to maintain its commitment over the long term to the consolidation of peace and development in Sierra Leone.
The European Union is engaged in the country, as are the United Nations Development ProgramSAme, UNICEF, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the World Health Organization, among others. I would also like to note that the PBC is proposing a continuation of its work in Sierra Leone to a lesser degree. It can therefore support the Agenda for Prosperity promoted by the authorities of Sierra Leone.
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