UN envoy urges S. Leone's political pool to hold free and fair elections

Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Jens Toyberg-Frandzen, Executive Representative of the
Secretary General while addressing Security Council
in New York
[PHOTO: UNifeed] 
New York: The United Nations top official in Sierra Leone, Jens Toyberg-Frandzen has urged Sierra Leone's political parties and other relevant stakeholders to adhere to their commitment to free and fair elections, slated for 17 November.

Jens Toyberg-Frandzen, Executive Representative of the Secretary General in Sierra Leone, in a briefing to the Security Council, said that "providing an enabling security environment at all stages of the electoral process and in the immediate post-electoral period will be equally indispensable."

In that regard, he added, "the role of the Sierra Leone security agencies, and particularly the Sierra Leone's police, remains critical."

Toyberg-Frandzen was presenting the Secretary-General's latest report on the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL).

The Secretary-General in his report recommended a mandate extension in order to allow UNIPSIL to perform a number of tasks, including "the preparation of a transition plan and exit strategy" following the November elections.

The chair of the Peacebuilding Commission's (PBC) country-specific configuration for Sierra Leone, Guillermo Rishchynski, also briefing the Council, said the forthcoming elections and transition period "present risks, but also constitutes an opportunity to further consolidate peace, deepen democratic governance and lay the foundations for a prosperous future."

Rishchynski said Sierra Leoneans "have demonstrated tremendous determination in rebuilding their country after a devastating civil war" and called on the international community, "to continue standing shoulder to shoulder with them in the years to come."

Ambassador Shekou M. Touray of Sierra Leone told the Council it was "crucial" to continue to tackle the remaining challenges, among which is "the increasing need to address the economic, social and governance challenges to match the great expectations of Sierra Leoneans."

The Security Council is expected to soon vote on a resolution requesting UNIPSIL to provide assistance to conflict prevention and mitigation efforts, including through promoting the role of women in conflict prevention and supporting genuine and inclusive dialogue among political parties, the Government and all relevant stakeholders. -UNifeed
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