Senior UN official visits

A senior official of the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA) has visited Sierra Leone to meet UN, government and civil society representatives and assess current political developments in the country.

The UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) said in a news release on Friday that Youssef Mahmoud, director of DPA's Africa II Division, arrived last weekend in the capital, Freetown.

The UN Country Team in Sierra Leone briefed him on post-election action plans, which focus on supporting resettlement and reintegration, poverty alleviation, good governance and strengthening security, the release said. Separate meetings he had with leaders of political parties focused on peace-building, including the need to maintain law and order and to broaden participation in democracy and governance.

Mahmoud and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Oluyemi Adeniji, had discussions on Wednesday with Vice-President Solomon Berewa on economic issues, reconstruction, reconciliation, and the impact on Sierra Leone of the current conflict in neighbouring Liberia.

Mahmoud discussed reintegration programmes for ex-combatants and the resettlement of refugees and internally displaced persons with officials of Sierra Leone's National Commission for Social Action, National Committee on Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration and NGOs. He also met UN peacekeepers and leaders of the former rebel Revolutionary United Front Party.