Annan reaffirms UN commitment

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The Independent Online

The UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, yesterday reiterated his determination to keep the UN's peacekeeping mission in place in Sierra Leone in spite of the chaos of recent days. "I don't think there was ever a question of withdrawal," he said in response to questions from reporters. "I think we have a mandate, we are determined to carry it out."

He added: "If the international community were to fail the Sierra Leoneans, the impact on broader efforts by the international community on the African continent would be very serious. Not only there but in other areas. And I think, given some of the lessons we have learnt, we should try to see this one through."

The Security Council was meeting in emergency session late last night in New York. The meeting, organised at the request of African governments, was not expected to consider any changes to the peacekeeping mission, however.

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