Cut short for taking shortcuts: the Lome Peace Agreement on Sierra Leone

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The July 1999 Lomé Peace Agreement, the third in the series of peace agreements signed to end Sierra Leone's then eight-year war, collapsed in May 2000, with the arrest and detention of UN peacekeepers by the members of the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF). The collapse of the agreement raised fundamental questions about the future of peace in Sierra Leone, and forced many observers to wonder whether there are peculiarities inherent in the country that frustrate peace agreements, or that the agreements themselves are defective, and should not be expected to work. There is also the additional factor of an inability of parties and mediators to the conflict to implement peace agreements either because of a lack of political will or limited resources to start the process. This article takes a critical look at the Lomé Peace Agreement and argues that its failure was due more to the desire of negotiators and a fundamentally weak government to appease the rebel faction than address the key issues underlining the conflict. It argues that the peace agreement has once again uncovered the fragility of peace processes and the role of the international community in assisting that process. Finally, it considers the wider implications of Sierra Leone's failed peace process for international efforts in peacekeeping, conflict resolution and conflict management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117 - 134
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Civil Wars
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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