29/07/2004

UK provides further military backing to Sierra Leone

The MoD has pledged £4.5 million worth of technical assistance funding for trucks and communications equipment to Sierra Leone over the next three years, it has been announced today.

The move is in response to the appeal made by the UN Secretary-General, in his twenty-first report on the UN Mission in Sierra Leone, for donors to provide the Republic of Sierra Leone armed forces with sorely needed communications and transport equipment.

Minister for the Armed Forces, Adam Ingram, said: "This gift will, alongside the assistance we already provide through the UK-led international military advisory training team, continue to support the development of the Republic of Sierra Leone armed forces into a sustainable, accountable, affordable force.

"This further demonstrates the contribution made by Her Majesty's government in assisting the Government of Sierra Leone in preparation for the withdrawal of the UN Mission."

The UK has 92 military personnel deployed with the international training team on top of 22 already deployed with the UN Mission in Sierra Leone.

The Sierra Leonean government will decide the exact specification of the trucks and communications equipment they require.

After a fact-finding trip to seven West African countries last month, UN Security Council members called for more international backing to identify ways of preventing coups d’état and other unconstitutional means of seizing or holding power.

The UN also urged donors to "respond generously" to humanitarian appeals for the region and call for additional resources to help with implementing "coherent solutions to conflicts and other regional problems". Council members reviewed peacekeeping operations in Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone, but they stressed that due attention must be paid to “those countries of the region that are currently stable and that show strong commitment to good governance, protection of human rights and good-neighbourly relations”.

(gmcg)

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