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Liberia: UN mission examines potential impact of tighter sanctions

Liberia: UN mission examines potential impact of tighter sanctions

A United Nations mission has travelled to Liberia to conduct a preliminary assessment of the potential humanitarian, social and economic impact on the country's people of possible additional sanctions, a UN spokesman said today.

The three-member team, which includes officials from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, was dispatched at the request of the Security Council, spokesman Fred Eckhard told reporters in New York.

By its resolution 1343, adopted on 7 March, the Council replaced earlier sanctions against Liberia with a ban on selling or supplying the country with arms and related materiel, as well as any military training or technical assistance. The sanctions were imposed pending Liberia's compliance with the Security Council's demands, including an immediate halt to Monrovia's support for the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebel group in Sierra Leone.

Meanwhile, in a letter issued today, Liberian Foreign Minister Monie R. Captan responded to the Security Council sanctions committee's decision not to grant a waiver of the travel ban to allow two Liberian ministers to travel to Freetown to attend the World Cup qualifying soccer match between Liberian and Sierra Leone earlier this month.

"The soccer match was not the primary motivation for the proposed visit, but rather it provided an opportunity for confidence-building and dialogue," wrote the Foreign Minister. The Council's rejection of Liberia's request "runs contrary to the spirit of resolution 1343 and the search for sustainable peace," he said.