(translation of statement in French)
I, in turn, would like to thank the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sierra Leone for her statement, as well as Mr. Michael von der Schulenburg, Executive Representative of the Secretary-General for Sierra Leone, and Ambassador McNee for their very instructive briefings on the work of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) and of the Sierra Leone configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission.
The situation in Sierra Leone remains fragile but is under control. Like the Secretary-General in his report (S/2009/267), we welcome the fruitful efforts of President Koroma and the Sierra Leonean political parties to overcome their differences and to put an end to the cycle of violence. The signing of the 2 April joint communiqué is for us a key step in the relationship between the ruling All People’s Congress and the Sierra Leone People’s Party. That outcome is a further example of the resolve of the people of Sierra Leone to continue along the path of peace and democracy.
We remain seriously concerned by the growing drug-trafficking in the subregion and by its destabilizing effect on the most fragile States. In that regard, France welcomes the progress made by Sierra Leone to strengthen its fight against that traffic and the significant subsequent convictions. We would like to see stronger cooperation in that area. France is ready to support United Nations action to that end, which could make good use of the expertise and assistance of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in fighting drug trafficking in West Africa. Progress has also been made in strengthening good governance, which is crucial to the economic and social development of the country. However, we remain concerned about the issue of sexual violence.
The international community must remain mobilized in support of the peacebuilding effort in Sierra Leone. We welcome the fruitful cooperation of the Government with the Peacebuilding Commission and, in that regard, await with interest the outcome of the special session to be held in two days. We encourage Sierra Leone’s partners to maintain their commitment to supporting the implementation of President Koroma’s Agenda for Change and of the United Nations Joint Vision for Sierra Leone, which identifies the key objectives of the peacebuilding process. In that regard, we welcome the development of a range of benchmarks and criteria for the implementation of that document.
In conclusion, we urge UNIPSIL to continue along the path of implementing its mandate.