UN Peace-Building Commission (PBC) Chair Presents Country Report to Vice President

The Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations, and Chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission’s Country Specific Configuration for Sierra Leone, Ambassador Marc-André Blanchard, has today briefed the Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Ambassador Dr. Victor Bockarie Foh, on the exchanges held with national stakeholders during their three-day working visit to Sierra Leone.

In his brief, Ambassador Marc-André Blanchard said the objective of the visit was to receive an update on preparations for the presidential, legislative, and local elections scheduled for 7 March 2018 and to explore the political accompaniment and advocacy role the PBC can play in supporting Sierra Leone to hold free, fair, credible and peaceful elections. The delegation expressed appreciation for Government’s commitment to ensure peaceful and credible elections and a level playing field for all parties He underscored the confidence of the international community in Sierra Leone’s democratic system and its capacity to organize peaceful and credible elections.

The UN-PBC Chair maintained that the delegation had fruitful consultations with all interlocutors, on the level of preparedness for the electoral process, and was pleased to note progress achieved so far. The delegation congratulated the National Electoral Commission for meeting all planned deadlines, and commended the Government for the disbursement of funds to ensure the completion of the process, urging that all remaining funds be transferred in a timely fashion according to the agreed schedule.

Ambassador Marc-André Blanchard noted that this election comes after a series of successful elections recently held in West Africa, and called upon all political parties and their leaders as well as all other stakeholders to sustain their efforts to ensure that the country maintains this successful trend in the region. In this regard, urged all actors to exercise restraint and refrain from incitement and hate speech, and encouraged mechanisms for dialogue amongst political parties and other stakeholders. The UN-PBC Chair equally urged civil society, the private sector, and the media to be aware of their important roles, and called upon youth and women to engage and participate actively in the entire process, particularly encouraging political parties to redouble efforts to identify qualified female candidates to stand for elections.

He also called upon the security services, especially the police, to fulfill their responsibilities with professionalism and impartiality, and to provide security for the electoral process and in particular to the Presidential Candidates.I encourage all actors to continue dialogue and open communication, and urged all parties to make use of existing legal and alternative dispute mechanisms to ensure prompt, fair and timely adjudication of electoral grievances and offences’, he added.

The Chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission’s Country Specific Configuration for Sierra Leone, Ambassador Marc-André Blanchard, reassured the Vice President and all national stakeholders of their commitment to continue their political accompaniment and advocacy role, and to provide all possible support to Sierra Leone in accomplishing the delivery of free, fair, transparent, peaceful, and credible elections in March.

Welcoming the UN-PBC delegation for and on behalf of His Excellency the President, the Government and the People of Sierra Leone, the Vice President Ambassador Dr. Victor Bockarie Foe expressed profound appreciation to the UN-PBC delegation for their peacebuilding concern for the country and reiterated the Government’s commitment in ensuring a free, fair, credible and peaceful elections.

The Vice President lauded the support of the UN PBC for Sierra Leone, while informing that the Government has put every effort in sustaining peace and stability in the country which has stimulated several development programmes around the country.

The PBC delegation, which also included Sierra Leone’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Adikalie Foday Sumah, met with members of the Government of Sierra Leone, including the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, the Inspector-General of Police, the Chief of Defence Staff, and members of the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, and the Office of National Security. The delegation also met with the Chair and Commissioners of the National Electoral Commission, the Chair and Deputy Chair of the National Human Rights Commission, the Chair of the National Commission for Democracy, and the Chair of the Independent Media Commission. Other meetings and consultations included political parties and the Political Parties Registration Commission, the Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone, representatives of civil society, the United Nations Country Team (UNCT), members of the diplomatic corps and development partners in Sierra Leone, members of the media, and private sector representatives.

The UN-PBC delegation was accompanied to the office of the Vice President by the Director General and Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Deputy Director General for Policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Directors of various Divisions and Heads of Sections of the Ministry.

 

UN Peace-Building Commission (PBC) Chair pays courtesy call on Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

The Chair of the PBC Configuration for Sierra Leone, Ambassador Marc-Andre’ Blanchard today paid a working visit to the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Mohamed Gibril Sesay at his Tower Hill Office in Freetown.

The aim of the three-day working visit to Sierra Leone according to Ambassador Marc-Andre’ Blanchard, is to engage representatives of the Government, Political Parties, Civil Society, the Media, the Diplomatic Community, the UN Country Team and other relevant stakeholders including officials of the National Electoral Commission and the Political Parties Registration Commission, on matters relating to the March 2018 elections and other political and governance issues.

The PBC Chair conveyed on behalf of the PBC, heartfelt condolences for the tragic loss of lives following the mudslide and flood disaster on August 14 this year, further noting that issues relating to the recovery and relief efforts of the Government are of interest to his Commission. The UN PBC Chair lauded the tremendous progress Sierra Leone has made in consolidating and sustaining peace; underscoring that the PBC only engages with the country on a needs driven basis. ‘The PBC is here to find out how far preparations have gone and what mechanisms have been put in place to sustain peace during and after the elections’, he added.

The Ambassador further underscored the need for a peaceful transition after the 2018 Presidential and General elections.

Welcoming the UN PBC on behalf of Government and the people of the Republic of Sierra Leone, the Acting Minister, Dr. Mohamed Gibril Sesay lauded the support of the UN PBC for Sierra Leone, while informing that the Government has put every effort in sustaining peace and stability in the country which has stimulated several development programmes around the country.

The Acting Minister, assured of Government’s commitment in holding free, fair, transparent, peaceful and credible elections in March 2018 and subsequently a peaceful transition.

Present were: the Director General and Ambassador-at-Large; Ambassador Adikalie Foday Suma, Sierra Leone Permanent Rep. to the UN; Deputy Director General for Operations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Assistant Director General for Policy and Technical Cooperation, Mr. Allan George, Counsellor, Sierra Leone Permanent Mission to the UN; Directors of various Divisions and Heads of Sections of the Ministry.

Ambassador of The Islamic Republic of Iran takes formal leave of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

His Excellency Lotfollah Bakhtiari, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Islamic Republic of Iran accredited to Sierra Leone and resident in Freetown, has taken formal leave of the Minister of State 1 of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr.  Mohammed Gibril Sesay, at the Ministry’s office, Tower Hill, Freetown.

In his farewell statement to the Minister of State 1 and Senior Management staff of the Ministry, His Excellency Lotfollah Bakhtiari on behalf of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran conveyed sincere gratitude to the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the warm reception given to the Iranian community and organisations/or institutions operating in the country.

The outgoing Ambassador underscored that in spite the devastating impact of the Ebola scourge in Sierra Leone, coupled with the international challenges facing his country, he has always remained focused and committed in the cause of maintaining, strengthening and broadening the  bilateral and multilateral cooperation between the Government of the Republic of Iran and the Republic of Sierra Leone through the implementation of a variety of programmes and projects.

His Excellency Lotfollah Bakhtiari further  outlined various technical and development cooperation programmes that are currently being implemented by both countries. These  include: Joint political and Economic Working Committe  headed by the level of Director Generals of the Foreign Ministries of both countries; and the establishment of a Technical and Vocational  Institution. He also informed that securing approval for the construction of the TecVoc Institute including the importation of modern equipment from Iran and training of trainers are on course.

Other important bilateral issues raised and discussed by the Ambassador bordered around: enhancement of economic cooperation, Human security projects and other global issues.

Dr. Mohamed Gibril Sesay on behalf of Government and the people of the Republic of Sierra Leone, thanked the outgoing Ambassador for enduring his mission in Sierra Leone. He described the bilateral relations between Iran and Sierra Leone as very cordial underscoring the significance of bilateral cooperation between the two countries.  ‘Please extend the relationship between Iran and Sierra Leone and my regards to the Foreign Affairs Minister of Iran’, Dr. Gibril Sesay, concluded.

Present were: the Director General and Ambassador-at-Large, Deputy Director Generals for Operations and Policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation;  Directors of various Divisions and Heads of Sections of the Ministry.

IOM TO REPATRIATE 180 SIERRA LEONEANS FROM LIBYA

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is facilitating the repatriation of 180 stranded Sierra Leoneans from various detention centres in the State of Libya to Sierra Leone following consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the IOM Head of Mission in Sierra Leone.

According to the Head of Chancery of the Republic of Sierra Leone in Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt, Mohamed A. Hashim, the first batch of 180 deportees from various detention centers in the State of Libya, have been traced and screened by the Sierra Leone Embassy staff and IOM and have been to be certified Sierra Leoneans. On the issue of security, he said, Interpol will further screen the returnees.

According to IOM officials in Sierra Leone, the special chartered flight will arrive on the Tuesday 21st November, 2017 at 18:30pm at the Freetown International Airport in Lungi.

The Director General and Ambassador-at-Large in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Khadijatu Bassir, Senior officials of the Ministry, together with officials from IOM, social service providers, the security sector led by ONS will be at the airport to receive and screen the 180 returnees from Libya.

It could be recalled that hundreds of Sierra Leoneans left the shores of this country heading to Europe and other parts of the Globe in search of greener pastures through several illegal and risky travelling channels – land and sea. In the process some lost their lives while others got stranded in other countries.

Following several distress calls and media publications on the predicament of our compatriots who find themselves in this ugly situation, officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation engaged some members of the Diplomatic Community to assist Sierra Leonean citizens that are stranded in other countries including Libya. It is against this backdrop that the Ministry engaged IOM to assist destitute Sierra Leoneans in Libya. 

OSASA PLEDGES SUPPORT TO DR. SAMURA KAMARA

A cross section of the executive and members of the Old St. Andrew’s Student Association (OSASA) in Bo, has paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, who also double as the flag bearer aspirant for the APC party, Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara, at the Minister’s office, Tower Hill, Freetown to congratulate him on his accomplishment and update him on the present status of the association.

Speaking on behalf of the Board of Governors, OSASA and the school administration, the National President of OSASA, Joseph Mbawa, congratulated Dr. Samura Kamara on his appointment as flag bearer of the APC noting that this has been a normal routine of the Association in celebrating the achievements of its membership. ‘You deserve what you are today’, Mr. Mbawa added. The OSASA national President further disclosed that this is the first time an alumnus of St. Andrews has attained this political appointment. He assured that they will usher support from their membership to produce the first Head of State of this nation from their alma mater.

Mr. Mbawa also updated the Minister on the present situation of the school with regards current cooperation between the Board of Governors and the School Management team, enrolment, staff, and infrastructural development among other issues. He appealed to the Minister for more support to the school especially the campus fencing to ensure security. The OSASA President concluded by extending invitation to Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara to serve as Keynote Speaker during the Speech Day expected to be hosted in February 2018, in Bo City.

Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara commended members of the Association for keeping the spirit of the association alive. He recalled several colleagues they schooled together lamenting that among their batch only few are alive. The Minister of Foreign Affairs has also consented to serve as guest speaker at the speech day ceremony in Bo. ‘I know I have a big role to play more so now…we all have a responsibility to promote and develop our alma mater’, Dr. Samura Kamara concluded.

The decoration of the Minister with the school and OSASA badges by Haja Mbalu climaxed the visit.

The ceremony was witnessed by the Director General and Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; and the Head of Section of Media and Public Affairs of the Ministry.

China offers over $45M to the Government of Sierra Leone

In a bid to broaden or bolster economic and technical cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Sierra Leone, the Government of the People’s Republic of China made a grant offer to the tune of 300,000,000 RMB Yuan (Approx. 45,180,000.00 US dollar) to the Government of Sierra Leone at a signing ceremony held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Tower Hill, Freetown.

The agreement which was signed by the Ambassador H.E. Wu Peng, for and on behalf of the Government of the People’s Republic of China, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone, stipulates that the Government of the People’s Republic of China agrees to provide to the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone a grant assistance in the amount of 300,000,000 RMB Yuan (Approx. 45,180,000.00 US dollar) to implement the rehabilitation of the National Stadium project and support to the Agricultural sector.

In his brief remarks before the signing of the agreement, the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone thanked the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International cooperation for the pivotal role he has played in enhancing and deepening the bilateral ties between the two countries. Ambassador Peng emphasised the need to promote and mobilise more resources in the agricultural sector in the country.

Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara lauded the effort of the Chinese Government for scaling up bilateral relations with the Republic of Sierra Leone which he said, was as a result of the Government’s relentless effort to attain the highest level of cooperation with the People’s Republic of China. ‘Our children yet unborn will inherit this friendly relationship with China’, he added. The Foreign Minister underscored some of the significant assistance China has offered to the Republic of Sierra Leone including infrastructure, energy, health and much more.

The ceremony was witnessed by the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry & Food Security, Dr. Marilyn Marie Jalloh; the Hon. Minister of Sports, Mr. Ahmed Khanou; the Director of the Political Section of the Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone, GUO Xin; the Director General and Ambassador-at-Large, Deputy Director General for Operations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Directors of various Divisions and Heads of Sections of the Ministry.

Ambassador of Japan takes formal leave of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

His Excellency Kaoru YOSHIMURA, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Sierra Leone resident in Ghana, has taken formal leave of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara, at the Ministry’s office, Tower Hill, Freetown.

In his farewell statement to the Minister and Senior Management staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, His Excellency Kaoru YOSHIMURA, on behalf of the Government of Japan conveyed sincere gratitude to the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the warm reception given to the Japanese community and organisations/or institutions operating in the country.

The outgoing Ambassador expressed sentiments on the bilateral and multilateral cooperation between the Government of Japan and the Republic of Sierra Leone through the implementation of various programmes. HE Kaoru YOSHIMURA also highlighted several programmes that are currently implemented in Sierra Leone including: Japanese Government scholarships; humanitarian assistance; and peacebuilding and development.

Other issues raised and discussed by the Ambassador bordered around: enhancement of economic cooperation, Human security projects and other global issues. 

Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara, on behalf of Government and the people of the Republic of Sierra Leone, thanked the outgoing Ambassador for enduring his mission in Sierra Leone. He described the bilateral relations between Japan and Sierra Leone as very cordial underscoring the significance of bilateral cooperation between the two countries.  ‘Please extend my regards to the Foreign Affairs Minister of Japan’, Dr. Samura Kamara, concluded.

Present were: the Director General and Ambassador-at-Large, Deputy Director General for Operations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Assistant Director General for Policy and Technical Cooperation; Directors of various Divisions and Heads of Sections of the Ministry.

AU SUB-COMMITTEE ON SPECIAL EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE DEBRIEFS THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara, has (3rd November, 2017), received a two-man delegation comprising Her Excellency Monica Nashandi, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Namibia to the African Union representing the Permanent Representatives Committee’s (PRC) Sub-Committee on Special Emergency Assistance Fund (SEAF) and Madam Rahol Mosfin, from the Department of Political Affairs, in the Directors conference room, Tower Hill, Freetown.

Her Excellency Monica Nashandi said, their mission was to reaffirm the solidarity of the African Union with the Republic of Sierra Leone with specific focus on the Post Ebola situation in the country as well as the national recovery and resilience building efforts following the recent mudslide disaster. The AU mission she stated, has made courtesy calls and held several meetings with MDAs, UN Agencies, INGOs and other humanitarian partners to assess the achievements thus far; the challenges and to map the way forward in providing the necessary support to avoid human sufferings and mitigate other fallouts from any disasters befalling African Union member states.

The AU envoy lauded the effort of Government for the structures put in place in managing the Ebola scourge and the mudslide disaster in the country noting that their field trip in Port Loko district and interaction with stakeholders, manifest government’s preparedness for disaster management in the country. ‘The findings of this sub-committee on Special Emergency Assistance Fund will be submitted to the AU Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC)’, she concluded.

Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara in his welcome statement expressed thanks and appreciation to the AU SEAF Mission to Sierra Leone noting that the need for the assessment is significant to both the AU and the country in particular. The Foreign

Minister maintained that the report on findings of this assessment would enhance the country’s preparedness in term of disaster management.

Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara lauded the AU Commission for their financial support and the deployment of medical experts in the country during the Ebola Outbreak through OSEOWA to assist in curbing the spread of the virus.  

Present were: the Minister of State I, Dr. Mohamed Gibril Sesay, Director General and Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Assistant Director General for Policy and Technical Cooperation, Directors of various Divisions and Heads of Sections of the Ministry.

Light House Chapel International Church in Ghana donates over 200 bales of used clothing to Mudslide & Flood Victims

The Light House Chapel International Church of the Republic of Ghana through the Sierra Leone High Commission in Ghana, has presented a truck load of 226 bales of used clothing and 20 mattresses to the office of National Security (ONS) at their Tower Hill headquarters in Freetown.

Delivering the items for and on behalf of the benefactors and the Sierra Leone High Commission in Ghana, the Deputy Director General for operations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Paul A. S. Minah said, the outcome of the August 14 mudslide and floods came as a shock to the people of Ghana, particularly the number of lives lost and value of property destroyed. It is against this backdrop, Mr. Minah said, that the Light House Chapel International Church pioneered and facilitated the transportation of the 226 bales of used clothing and 20 mattresses, donated by churches, mosques, pharmaceuticals, companies and other institutions and individuals of Ghanaian and foreign nationalities. He further added that the donation demonstrates their sympathy and empathy for families that lost dear ones, and also survivors. The Deputy Director General for operations on behalf of the donors, the pioneers and people of the Republic of Ghana extended condolence and sympathy to all affected families.

Receiving the items on behalf of the National Coordinator of ONS, the Director of Disaster Management, ONS, Mr. John V. Rogers, expressed thanks and appreciation to the Light House Chapel International Church and the people of Ghana for their benevolent donation. Mr. Rogers maintained that ONS would take custody of the items, which he promised would be utilized by the targeted beneficiaries. He also expressed thanks and appreciation to the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for facilitating the delivery process of the donated items.

The Deputy Director General for Operations, Mr. Paul Minah was accompanied by the Director for Economic and Technical Cooperation (ECOTEC), Mr. Obai Taylor-Kamara.

The Secretary of State for Scotland pays a courtesy call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

The Secretary of State for Scotland, the Rt. Honourable David Mundell, has paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara at his Tower Hill office in Freetown.

According to the Rt. Hon. David Mundell, his visit to Sierra Leone is to enhance and deepen the existing partnership and bilateral relations between Scotland and the Republic of Sierra Leone. The Scottish Secretary of State extended fraternal salutations from the Government and people of Scotland to the Government and people of Sierra Leone. He also extended sympathy and condolences to bereaved families, victims and survivors of the Ebola scourge and the August 14 mudslide and flood disaster in the country.

The Rt. Hon. David Mundell underscored his Government’s continuous assistance and support to Sierra Leone.

Dr. Samura Kamara welcomed the Secretary of State for Scotland to Sierra Leone and assured him of the full support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs both at bilateral and multilateral levels.

Some of the issues discussed during the meeting focused on strengthening and deepening bilateral relations, the electoral cycle, as well as the people to people relations between Scotland and Sierra Leone.

Present at the ceremony were: the Minister of State I, Dr. Mohamed Gibril Sesay; the British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, Guy Warrington; the Head of Political, Press and Public Affairs, Justin Addison; the Deputy Director General for Operations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; and the Director of Protocol of the Ministry.