Security Council Extends UN Office In Sierra Leone
Security Council extends UN office in Sierra Leone for final nine months
The Security Council today extended for a final period of nine months the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL), during which the operation would take steps to progressively reduce its strength with a view to completing its mandate by next September.
In a resolution adopted unanimously by the 15-member body, the Council requested Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to submit a completion strategy for UNIOSIL by 31 January that should include least a 20 per cent reduction in staff numbers by 31 March, a continued mission at 80 per cent of the current strength until 30 June, and the termination of UNIOSIL's mandate by 30 September.
The Council also requested Mr. Ban to submit specific proposals concerning the mandate, structure and strength of the successor office next April.
In his latest report on UNIOSIL, Mr. Ban recommended that the operation be extended for a final nine months so that it can continue to assist the Government in supporting the local elections scheduled for next year and in strengthening State institutions.
The holding of the local elections will require UN assistance given that the National Electoral Commission does not have the required capacity to conduct them, he wrote.
The Council called on all parties in Sierra Leone to ensure that the 2008 local elections are "peaceful, transparent, free and fair," and emphasizes that the Government "bears the primary responsibility for peacebuilding, security and long-term development in the country."