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Sierra Leone

Volume 401: debated on Tuesday 18 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the extent is of UK military deployment to Sierra Leone and the surrounding region during 2003; what estimate he has made of the costs of this deployment; and if he will make a statement. [102942]

The United Kingdom has maintained a twin track strategy in Sierra Leone, supporting the UN mission and providing training, advice and assistance to the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) and the democratically elected Government of Sierra Leone. A United Kingdom-led International Military Advisory and Training Team (IMATT) continues to help build the RSLAF into an effective, professional and democratically accountable force. The HVLATT currently involves some 120 personnel, comprising 108 United Kingdom personnel plus a number of internationals. The annual cost of the IMATT is approximately £15 million.To display our continued commitment to the settlement process in Sierra Leone on 21 February we deployed a Company Group from 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles plus HQ and supporting elements (eg logistics and medical). HMS Iron Duke and RFA Black Rover have also deployed to Sierra Leone as a further demonstration of United Kingdom commitment. The provisional costs of this deployment are in the order of £1.8 million.There are no other United Kingdom deployments in the region, although the United Kingdom also provides the Chief Of Staff, six HQ staff officers and 15 Military Observers to the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL).