Sierra Leone At The United Nations Security Council Briefing Under The Agenda: Maintenance Of International Peace And Security – “Red Sea Maritime And Economic Security”


Mr. President,

Sierra Leone congratulates you, and the Republic of France on assuming the Presidency of the Security Council for the month of January 2024. We extend our best wishes to you and your team.

Sierra Leone notes with appreciation the working methods of the French Presidency for an effective open and action-oriented Security Council.

We also take this opportunity to recognize the excellent work of Ecuador, during their Presidency in the month of December 2023.

Sierra Leone further congratulates and commends the 5 outgone elected (non-permanent) members – Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana, and the United Arab Emirates, for their distinguished and valuable contributions to the work of the Council.

We thank you, Mr. President, and members of the Security Council for the welcome accorded to my delegation.  We are honoured to be joining the Council together with Algeria, Guyana, Republic of Korea, and Slovenia.

In our maiden statement in this hallowed Chamber on 29 January 1970, my delegation expressed great belief “in the essential importance of the Security Council”, as we paid “sincere tribute to its tireless and courageous work towards peace and international security”. As we had hoped for a successful decade in the 1970s, that resilience and courage is needed today. We therefore commit to being constructive, in ensuring the Council’s unity and effectiveness.  

Mr. President,

Turning now to our agenda, I thank Assistant Secretary-General, Mr. Khaled Khiari, and the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization, Mr. Arsenio Dominguez-Velasco for their important briefings.

The members of the Security Council in the Council’s Press Statement (SC/15513) issued on 1st December 2023, “condemned in the strongest terms recent Houthi attacks against a commercial vessel in the Red Sea” and demanded that all such attacks and action cease immediately. The Council also “called for the immediate release of the vessel MV Galaxy leader and its crew”.

Further, the members of the Security Council underlined the importance of the navigational rights and freedoms of all vessels in the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea, in accordance with international law and “recalled the importance of enhancing international and regional cooperation to counter threats to peace and security in the region”.

Sierra Leone is, therefore, seriously concerned that despite the Council’s Press Statement, there has been an escalation of maritime attacks which have adversely affected navigation in the Red Sea, gravely threatening the movement of essential commodities such as food and fuel. We also note the impact on the delivery of humanitarian assistance to destinations and people in dire need of such assistance in the region and globally.

The attacks by the Houthis in the Red Sea, has had grave consequences on maritime security and navigation of vessels. We note reports by commercial vessels of missile and drone attacks by the Houthis. This reportedly has led to the disruption of trade routes and forcing shipping firms to take the more costly route around the Cape of Good Hope.

Additionally, the attacks on maritime vessels in the Red Sea risk creating further escalation of the already tense and volatile situation in the Middle East, which in turn will be a serious threat to international peace and security.

In this regard, we condemn in the strongest terms, the continued attacks against commercial vessels in international waters and demand the immediate release of all abducted crew members of MV Galaxy Leader. Abducting crew members of shipping vessels operating in international waters is a serious violation of international law and we demand the utmost respect for applicable international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Sierra Leone notes the significance of the initiative in establishing the multinational task force to “deter and counter the Houthi attacks” in the Red Sea. In this significant endeavor we urge for due compliance with international law.

Mr. President,

We are more particularly concerned that the increase in maritime attacks in the Red Sea poses a serious risk to the peace talks which in our view is a process that can lead to a comprehensive ceasefire agreement. In this regard, we call on all concerned to take appropriate steps to ensure that the attacks on vessels in the Red Sea do not lead to a breakdown in the Yemeni Peace Process.

We join other Council members in their efforts to support the ongoing peace talks in Yemen, which we hope will lead to durable peace in the country.

Finally, Sierra Leone is deeply concerned about the related regional dimension and possible escalation.  We therefore call on regional actors to refrain from provocative acts which will further escalate an already serious and dire situation in the region.

 I thank you.

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