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**NEWS**

CONTACT GROUP MEETING ON SIERRA LEONE - 2017-09-18

 The OIC Contact Group on Sierra Leone met at the Ministerial level on the sidelines of the Annual Coordination Meeting of the OIC Foreign Ministers in New York, on 18 September 2017, and reviewed the latest situation in the country.

1. The meeting recalled the recent 14 August 2017 tragedy of the deadly mudslides which killed hundreds of people including children outside Freetown as a result of days of heavy torrential rains and conveyed its profound sympathy to the government and people of Sierra Leone over the disaster which is represents one of the worse in this nation’s history. It appealed to OIC Member States and institutions, regional and international bodies as well as humanitarian organizations to demonstrate solidarity by bringing their full support to Sierra Leone in its efforts to overcome the impact of this painful incident.

2. The meeting noted with satisfaction that the Ebola crisis was over in Sierra Leone but its impact was still being felt in the country. The epidemic has brought about an economic crisis compounded by the sharp fall in commodity prices worldwide thus making the recovery process in Sierra Leone very difficult.

3. Despite all these constraints, the meeting noted with satisfaction the economic diversification embarked upon by the Government to overcome the crisis and the development of infrastructure to offer a better deal to Sierra Leonean people who are majority farmers.

4. The meeting paid tribute to the President of Sierra Leone, HE Mr. Ernest Bai Koroma for his unflinching commitment to democracy, the rule of law; youth development and women empowerment and his resolve towards achieving economic sustainability and development.

5. The meeting invited all OIC Member States to continue to extend economic assistance to Sierra Leone by providing direct investment either bilaterally or through their business community given the huge economic opportunity which Sierra Leone offers in the fields of agriculture, mining, tourism and fishing industry.

6. The meeting reiterated its thanks and appreciation to the State of Qatar, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and the Islamic Solidarity Fund for the financial support extended to the OIC Trust Fund for Sierra Leone at its inception and called for further financial contributions to replenish the depleted financial resources of the said Fund and urged the OIC General Secretariat to finalise the process of unifying all Funds under the roof of one joint Secretariat which will be based in Doha, State of Qatar, so as to give a new impetus to the activities of the Sierra Leone Fund in the areas of productive and social undertakings

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