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Sierra Leone a success story, says Ban Ki-moon in Freetown
Wrapping up his two-day visit to Sierra Leone, UN chief Ban Ki-moon has praised the west African country for its recovery from a decade of civil war, saying it has proved that peaceful democratic changes are possible.
Ban, who first visited the country in 2002, said Sierra Leone is a success story for the United Nations and a good example to the rest of west Africa.
"What I have seen during my visit gives me hope and vibrancy for the African continent," he said, urging the government "to further commit itself to more gains".
But he stressed that elections in 2012 will be a litmus test for the country’s maturing democracy.
On his last visit, he witnessed weapons being burnt. UN troops were deployed and thousands of people lost their lives. Now Ban said the country had successful rebuilt itself and its most important institutions.
Ban said the UN radio, which merged with the national broadcaster helping it to become a corporation, played a vital role in the run up to peace.
His visit to Africa, Ban said, was to see for himself what progress the continent was making towards achieving the millennium development goals.
On the international scene, the UN Secretary General said his organisation was closely watching the situation in Guinea Conakry and Guinea Bissau.