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                     Office of the Press Secretary
             (Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota)
For Immediate Release                                       July 7, 1999


On behalf of all Americans, I congratulate President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah and Revolutionary United Front leader Foday Sankoh on the signing of a peace agreement today in Lome, Togo. The agreement offers the hope of ending nearly eight years of terrible conflict in Sierra Leone and bringing peace and a brighter future for its people.

I thank President Eyedema and the Government of Togo for hosting the peace talks and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the UN, and my Special Envoy Reverend Jesse Jackson for providing critical support to the peace process. Neighboring countries also provided refuge to hundreds of thousands of Sierra Leoneans who fled the conflict and atrocities in their country. Their willingness to open their arms to those in need is an example that inspires us all.

We are committed to working with ECOWAS, the UN and the OAU to ensure appropriate support for implementing the agreement and beginning reconciliation efforts. We will work with the people of Sierra Leone and the international community to support the safe return of more than one million refugees and internally displaced people and the reconstruction of the country.