Global Policy Forum

Sierra Leone Peace Coordination Group,

Panafrican News
May 1, 2001

The coordinating group for the Sierra Leone peace process meets with the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Abuja later Tuesday in continuation of efforts to find a lasting solution to the country's 10-year civil war. The meeting comes a day after the group, comprising officials of the Sierra Leonean government, sub-regional group ECOWAS and the UN met in the Nigerian capital to review the peace process and forge a common front ahead of the meeting with the rebels.

Nigeria's federal government has already despatched an aircraft to ferry the RUF officials to Abuja for the meeting. "The (RUF) officials are expected here much later in the day," an ECOWAS source told PANA Tuesday. "And the meeting should start right after their arrival."

At Monday's meeting, an ad hoc committee representing the various groups at the meeting as well as the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was set up to harmonise the various positions of the so-called Coordination Mechanism ahead of Tuesday's meeting.

Key issues expected to dominate the meeting includes deployment of UN peacekeepers throughout the country, including areas held by the rebels, as agreed under the cease-fire agreement signed by the government and the RUF 10 November 2000, as well as demobilisation and rehabilitation of the fighters.

The meeting will also deliberate on the issue of amnesty for RUF leadership, how RUF can be part of the restructured Sierra Leonean army and the return of UNAMSIL's (UN Mission in Sierra Leone) equipment still being held by the rebels.

The parties will also review the cease-fire agreement, which ended a seven-month break in the implementation of the Lome Peace accord, widely regarded as officially ending the brutal war.

RUF truncated the peace process by reneging on its terms and holding hostage hundreds of UN peacekeepers overseeing its implementation last May. Sierra Leonean officials said recently that the cease-fire had generally held, despite some minor skirmishes.

More Information on Sierra Leone and Liberia


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