Russian foreign policy
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     January 25, 2002

     On the Evolution of the Peace Process in Sierra Leone

     125-25-01-2002

     A destruction ceremony of weapons turned in by former Revolutionary United Front (RUF) combatants was held in Sierra Leone's capital Freetown, with all the top leadership of the country, leaders of the Front, high-ranking representatives of a number of African countries and the UN Mission in the country, and the heads of the diplomatic representations there, including the Russian ambassador, in attendance.

     The ceremony was meant to symbolize in the eyes of Sierra Leoneans and the international community the completion of the process of disarmament of insurgents lasting since May 2001 and conducted under the aegis of the UN, and the actual cessation of a ten-year-long civil war in Sierra Leone. Similar events are being held in other areas of the country. A total of over 46,000 former URF combatants, as well as the civilian self defense forces from among the local population that opposed them on individual territories had voluntarily handed in their weapons.

     Moscow notes with satisfaction the positive dynamics in the settlement of the conflict in Sierra Leone and expresses the hope for successful realization of the tasks of stabilizing the internal political situation, holding the general elections scheduled for May, implementing the program of reintegrating former members of armed units into civilian life, solving the problem of refugees and restoring the national economy.

     January 25, 2002



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