Global Policy Forum

Sierra Leone's Envoy Worries Over Footdragging


By Jerome Hule

Panafrican News Agency
August 3, 1999

New York - Sierra Leone's ambassador to the UN, Foday Dabor, said he was worried that footdragging by the leadership of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels would jeorpadise implementation of the peace agreement signed between them and the government in July.

Dabor said Monday in New York that the statement by the RUF rebels that they would announce their nominations for ministerial appointments only after the government had named ministries to which they would be assigned, was not in accordance with the agreement. Under the agreement, brokered by ECOWAS and the UN to end the seven-year war between the RUF rebels and the government, the RUF is entitled to four ministerial positions.

According to Dabor, this provision was to be carried out within three weeks after the signing of the agreement. But it is yet to be implemented because the RUF has not nominated its appointees. Dabor pointed out that it was wrong for the RUF to insist on prior knowledge of the ministries to be assigned to them because under the Sierra Leonean constitution, the president has the prerogative to assign ministers to positions of his choosing. He explained that, in fulfilment of its obligation under the peace agreement, the government has passed a law recognising the RUF as a political party, offered them ministerial positions and released political prisoners. ''The RUF have to stop footdragging so that we can end the suffering of the people,'' Dabor advised.

Faced with escalating brutality against civilians by the rebels, the government of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah agreed in April to hold peace talks with the rebels. The talks culminated in a peace agreement that allowed for sharing of power with the RUF and granting of amnesty to their members.

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