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Japanese to observe Sierra Leone elections

4 August 2007 at 00:07 | 922 views

A high-level delegation representing the Government of Japan concluded its three-day visit to Sierra Leone on Thursday, 2 August.

Headed by Mr. Masayoshi Hamada, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, the visitors observed the state of preparations for this month’s presidential and parliamentarian elections and had discussions with representatives of the Government of Sierra Leone, the United Nations and the international community to encourage the smooth and successful conduct of the elections.

In addition to the US$ 2.8 million contribution for the elections provided earlier this year to the UNDP-managed electoral fund, the Government of Japan will immediately dispatch electoral observers to the elections.

Following the election of Japan as the chair country of the UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), the delegation assessed specific needs and gaps in addressing peacebuilding priorities in the country. The PBC and the Government of Sierra Leone are presently discussing the adoption of an integrated peacebuilding strategy.

The delegation’s programme included site visits of provincial centres to explore the possibility of Japan’s further contribution to the consolidation of peace and development in Sierra Leone.

During a press briefing at UNIOSIL, at the end of the visit, Vice-Minister Hamada disclosed that Japan will cancel Sierra Leone’s debt of US$ 33 million and will contribute with US$ 5 million to the urgent improvement of the electric power supply system in Freetown. Another note was signed and exchanged between the two Governments regarding food assistance for Sierra Leone through the World Food Programme in Rome, Italy, amounting to US$ 2 million.

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