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Security Council reaffirms need for Liberia to comply with sanctions

Security Council reaffirms need for Liberia to comply with sanctions

The United Nations Security Council today reaffirmed the need for Liberian authorities to comply with its demands that Monrovia stop supporting rebels in Sierra Leone.

In a press statement by this month's Council President, Ambassador Patricia Durrant of Jamaica, the 15-member body expressed its commitment to continue monitoring the implementation of its resolution 1343, which asks Monrovia to end financial and military support to the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) of Sierra Leone, to expel rebel members from Liberia and to prohibit their activity on its territory.

Resolution 1343 also asks Liberia to help ensure that the RUF returns weapons and other material seized from the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), proceeds with the disarmament of its fighters, and facilitates the freedom of movement of UN peacekeepers, among other demands.

In today's statement, members of the Council took note of the findings of an independent panel of experts who said the sanctions were having the desired effect on the activities of the Government of Liberia, and that the situation in the region had improved.

Expressing concern over the worsening humanitarian crisis in Liberia and stressing the need for more international funds to help civilian populations, the Council said it would keep in close touch with relevant UN organizations to develop an appropriate response to the situation.

The statement followed a meeting of the Council during which members heard a briefing by the Chairman of the committee established pursuant to resolution 1343 on meetings the committee had with the Panel of Experts. The Council was also briefed on the discussions between the UN relief officials on the humanitarian impact of possible future sanctions on Liberia.

During their discussions today, Council members had before them the latest report by Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Liberia's implementation of resolution 1343. In the report, Mr. Annan urged continued engagement with Liberia, noting that the Liberian Government had made an effort recently to improve its relations with Guinea and Sierra Leone. "The parlous economic and social conditions of the Liberian people, the tense security situation in the country and the peace requirements of Sierra Leone and the subregion demand that sustained engagement," the Secretary-General writes.

The report states that Liberia has actively participated in recent ministerial meetings of the Mano River Union "whose decisions and recommendations - if implemented - could go a long way towards restoring confidence and stability in the subregion." It also refers to reports from UNAMSIL that the RUF has allowed peacekeepers free access throughout Sierra Leone and that UN deployment now covers a considerable part of the country.

On the political front, the report says that, since the first tripartite meeting between the Government of Sierra Leone, UNAMSIL and the RUF, all measures taken to move the peace process forward have largely been implemented by the rebel group, including the release of abducted persons and child combatants and the disarmament of combatants.