African Press International (API)

"Daily Online News Channel".

Posted by African Press International on September 19, 2007

Washington DC- (USA) The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Monday pledged continued support for Sierra Leone following the announcement of the opposition victory in presidential elections, the first since UN peacekeepers left in 2005 after helping to bring peace and stability to the West African country that was torn asunder by a brutal 10-year civil war.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban commended all Sierra Leonean parties and their supporters for exercising patience and restraint during the tallying of votes in the 8 September poll, in which Ernest Bai Koroma of the All Peoples Congress Party received 54.6 per cent and incumbent Vice-President Solomon Berewa of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party obtained 45.4 per cent of the total valid votes cast. The final results were announced Monday.

Mr. Ban extended his warm congratulations to Mr. Koroma and also commended the National Electoral Commission and Sierra Leones security agencies for the professional and efficient manner in which they performed their duties during the period, which saw two rounds of voting since neither of the top candidates received sufficient votes to be elected outright.

The Secretary-General wishes to assure the newly elected government of Sierra Leone of the continued support of the United Nations as the country continues to move towards durable political stability and sustainable economic development, the statement concluded.

The statement was echoed by the Secretary-Generals executive representative in Freetown, Victor Angelo, who praised the statesmanship shown by Mr. Koroma and Mr. Berewa and by the outgoing President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah for ensuring a peaceful process during the counting period.

The elections are over, Mr. Angelo said in his statement. We all agree that the focus from now on is on ensuring national cohesion and unity, consolidating the gains made during the past five years and addressing the many challenges the country is still facing.

The presidential and parliamentary elections were Sierra Leones second since the end of the civil war in 2002, and the first since the withdrawal of the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL).

Since then assistance has been channelled through the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL), which Monday announced one more example of UN aid with the handing over of audio-visual equipment and computers to the Voice of Children Project (VOC), managed by the Office.

Published by Korir, API*APN africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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