The United Nations Security Council lifted the last remaining sanctions against Sierra Leone during the week that ended Oct. 1, clearing the way for international assistance to return to the violence-ravaged nation.
The council said the country had reclaimed some measure of stability after the government disarmed and disbanded rebel forces.
“Today’s actions are important milestones in Sierra Leone’s long recovery from war,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice told the Associated Press. She also stated that the international community “will play a critical role in Sierra Leone’s continued progress toward development and stabilization.”
The Council also extended the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone for another year.. The office was commissioned in 2008 to provide political advice and support to Sierra Leone, and will work over the next year to ensure the country has fair and peaceful elections in 2012.
The West African nation is still trying to recover from a civil war believed to be waged over “conflict” diamonds. From 1991 to 2002, an estimated 75,000 people were killed in the conflict. Those high casualty numbers resulted in the U.N.-imposed arms embargo in 1998.
While the economic sanctions have been lifted, Sierra Leone isn’t clear of trouble. U.N. Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon warned that new rounds of political instability in the country could derail any progress made.
The U.N has also increased troop numbers in the Ivory Coast, another West African nation, to provide security for an election that’s been on hold since 2005.