Sierra Leone leader committed to free election

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Baso Sangqu, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the UN

Despite huge challenges that Sierra Leone is facing, it has made remarkable progress since the civil war ended 10 years ago, according to the representative of South Africa to the United Nations.

Ambassador Baso Sangqu spoke as the Council heard a briefing on its mission to the West African countries of Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone last week.

He was a co-leader during the visit by the 15-member Council to Sierra Leone.

Ambassador Sangqu said the presidential and parliamentary elections, scheduled for November this year, featured prominently during the Council's visit to the West African country.

"We received a clear and welcome commitment from President Koroma to a free, fair and transparent process. Our discussions with all political parties and the National Electoral Commission reassured us that good progress was being made in preparing for November's poll. Whilst we heard that the political environment in the country continues to be dominated by intense rivalry and mistrust between the two major political parties, the Council was encouraged by a signature by all the political parties of a declaration agreeing to contest the elections fairly and not to resort to violence."

Duration: 29"

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