THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
UN Secretary General Annan and I agreed this morning that the international community must intensify international efforts to restore peace in Sierra Leone and to prevent a return to all-out civil war. The situation there has been grave. But the UN is determined to fulfill its mission; African and other nations are willing to act; and we are ready to help them.
I have instructed our military to provide needed assistance to accelerate the deployment of troops to UNAMSIL, and informed the UN that the United States will help transport reinforcements. A U.S. military transport aircraft is now in Jordan to move ammunition and supplies that are needed immediately for the Jordanian elements in Sierra Leone.
We intend to support the commitment West African nations have made to send additional troops to Sierra Leone to restore peace. A U.S. military team is now in Nigeria to determine what assistance might be needed from the international community to outfit and transport these forces as quickly as possible.
I welcome the statement West African leaders made on Tuesday at their emergency Summit in Abuja, Nigeria, calling for the release of all hostages and pledging to protect democratic institutions in Sierra Leone.
I have asked Rev. Jesse Jackson, my Special Envoy for Democracy in Africa, to return to the region to work with leaders there for a peaceful resolution of this crisis. Rev. Jackson has been actively involved in our diplomatic effort to help the people of Sierra Leone realize their peaceful aspirations.