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     UNIS/SG/2331
    12 August 1999
    Secretary-General Greatly Relieved at News of Release of All United Nations
     And ECOMOG Personnel Detained by Rebel Group in Sierra Leone

     

    NEW YORK, 10 August (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

    The Secretary-General is greatly relieved at the news that all United Nations and Economic Community of West African States' Monitoring Observer Group (ECOMOG) personnel detained by a rebel group in Sierra Leone had now been released.  He pays tribute to the courage and patience of the detainees and wishes them and their families well.  The Secretary-General gratefully acknowledges the crucial role played by the Government of Sierra Leone and in particular President Kabbah, as well as President Taylor of Liberia, President Obasanjo of Nigeria, other regional leaders, and the RUF/SL led by Mr. Sankoh in seeking a peaceful resolution to this situation.  He also should like to thank the Government of the United Kingdom for its swift dispatch of a team of experts to support the Government of Sierra Leone and the United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone (UNOMSIL).

    The Secretary-General once again calls on all parties involved to respect the safety and security of United Nations and other international personnel operating in Sierra Leone and to take measures to ensure that the recent events are not repeated.  He also urges all parties to proceed without delay with the release of all non-combatants, including children and POWs.  With the resolution of this deplorable episode, all Sierra Leoneans and the international community should now look ahead and devote all energies to the implementation of the Lome Peace Agreement.

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