Ambassador Tom Vens stated that the EU Election Exploratory Mission is in Sierra Leone following an invitation by the Government of Sierra Leone for EU Electoral assistance, and to further discuss the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in facilitating EU Observer Mission for the March 2018 elections in the country. The EU Election Exploratory Mission as part of its mandate is in the country to draft and finalise the MOU with the Government of Sierra Leone through the Foreign Ministry.
The Team Leader, who also doubles as the Election Desk Officer for Democracy and Electoral Observation, Concha Farnandez De La Puente, maintained that the EU has been observing the electoral processes in Sierra Leone since 2002. The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) she said, comprise various technical experts, whose mandate is to assess the electoral climate and processes, to ascertain the degree to which the national laws support or inhibit compliance with international standards for elections. ‘The outcome of our findings will lead to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Sierra Leone before the deployment of EU Observer Mission in the country.
Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara, on behalf of Government and the people of the Republic of Sierra Leone, welcomed the EU Election Exploratory Mission while underscoring the long bilateral relations between Sierra Leone and the EU.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation emphasised the need to have an EU observer mission in the country, noting that the assessment could be a valuable tool for other observers, through the networks of international observers. The Minister called on the EU to step up partnership with Sierra Leone through resource mobilization both local, and internationally with a view to strengthening the bilateral cooperation and partnerships between the two partners. He appealed for more support for the country in the spirit of graduating from the present situation following some external shocks resulting to an economic down turn making the country more donor dependent. The Minister assured that stability will be maintained by the government throughout the electoral cycle.
Present were: the Director General and Ambassador-at-Large, Deputy Director General for Operations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Assistant Deputy Director General for Policy and Technical Cooperation, Directors of various Divisions and Heads of Sections of the Ministry.