SRSG Mohamed visits Sierra-Leone and Liberia
The Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, visited respectively Sierra Leone and Liberia from 23 to 25 May.
On 23 May, SRSG Ibn Chambas arrived in Sierra Leone where he participated in the opening ceremony of the Bintumani III National Dialogue Forum. “Bintumani III is an opportunity for dialogue and to deliberate on the milestones that remain to be met in order truly to consolidate the democratic process,” said Mr. Ibn Chambas. He also encouraged continued political dialogue at all levels, and commended any measure taken to minimize differences in perspective and focus on commonality.
The Bintumani national dialogue forum was presided by Julius Maada Bio, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. It saw the participation of the diplomatic and consular Corps as well as civil society organizations and the United Nations.
SRSG Mohamed Ibn Chambas, then paid a two-day visit to Liberia which started on 24 May. The objective of the mission was to support the Special Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission in Liberia, Ambassador Babatunde Ajisomo, the Head of the African Union Liaison Office to Liberia, Ambassador Ibrahim Kamara and the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Liberia, Mr. Yacoub El Hillo, in their efforts to facilitate a peaceful dialogue between the government and organizers of the protest.
During his visit, Mr. Ibn Chambas met with George Manneh Weah, President of Liberia. He also met several stakeholders including the leadership of the four opposition collaborating political parties namely; the Alternative National Congress, the All Liberian Party, the Liberty Party and the Unity Party; the Council of Patriots, the Forum of Liberia Women Elders, former President Madam Ellen Johnson–Sirleaf and members of the diplomatic corps. Mr Chambas met again with H.E. President Weah before his departure.
The Special Representative commended efforts by all sides to ease the tension. He called on all “Liberians to use the opportunities for dialogue to sit down and discuss issues and agree common approaches on how they will all pull hands together, hang heads and work together to build a stable, peaceful and prosperous country”. Finally, he reiterated the support of ECOWAS, AU and the UN to Liberia and its people and pledged to continue to work with all towards the consolidation of democracy and peace building.