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Security Council sanctions against Liberia take effect

Security Council sanctions against Liberia take effect

New sanctions against Liberia, set out in a Security Council resolution adopted two months ago, automatically took effect today in the absence of evidence that Monrovia has stopped supporting armed groups in the region.

The development was confirmed by the Council President through a UN spokesman, who noted that the sanctions -- involving travel restrictions and a diamond ban -- "came into force at one minute past midnight today."

On Friday, the Council President, Ambassador James Cunningham of the United States, said that Monrovia had not demonstrated compliance with the Council's demands. Those demands -- along with the proposed sanctions -- are set out in resolution 1343, adopted in March.

That resolution demanded that Liberia immediately stop supporting the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) of Sierra Leone and other armed groups in the region by expelling RUF members from Liberia and ending financial and military aid to the rebel army

The text also stipulated that in the absence of compliance with the resolution's demands, new sanctions would take effect, including a ban on the direct or indirect import of all rough diamonds from Liberia, and measures to prevent travel by senior members of the country's Government or their spouses.

On Friday, Ambassador Cunningham stressed that the Council "will continue its dialogue with all States of the region -- all the Governments and leaders -- including Liberia, and will keep this item under close consideration."