ECOWAS leaders optimistic about peace in Sierra Leone

Freetown- Sierra Leone (PANA) -- ECOWAS Chairman and Malian President Alpha Omar Konare, has expressed satisfaction at the progress of Sierra Leone's peace process.
Speaking at Koidu in the diamond-rich Kono District Monday, he described his visit as significant, saying that "peace in West Africa is the responsibility of ECOWAS".
Konare was accompanied on the trip by his Nigerian counterpart Olusegun Obasanjo as well as Sierra Leonean President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and the UN Special envoy to Sierra Leone, Oluyemi Adeniji.
The ECOWAS Chairman thanked the Sierra Leonean government and the leadership of the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF), the UN and neighbouring countries for facilitating the peace process.
Obasanjo commended the interim leader of the RUF Gen.
Issa Sesay for living up to the undertakings by the Front.
He said the solution to the Sierra Leonean crisis was a responsibility for West Africans and appealed for foreign assistance to help rebuild the Country.
Addressing some 400 District representatives at the Koidu Roman Catholic Church, Kabbah described the occasion as a "turning point" in the disarmament process, noting that "the war is over".
He urged Sesay to keep faith with the peace process.
Meanwhile, Adeniji has disclosed that Obasanjo assured the RUF leadership that Nigeria would help retrain some of the ex-combatants, and also contribute to the transformation of the RUF into a political party.
Kono was until recently a rebel-held area in Sierra Leone's decade-old civil war.

04 september 2001 22:29:00

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