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Security Council urges Mano River Union leaders to continue peace talks

Security Council urges Mano River Union leaders to continue peace talks

Security Council members have urged the three Presidents of the Mano River Union – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – to continue talks initiated by Morocco in an attempt to consolidate peace in the sub-region.

In a press statement late Tuesday, the Council President, Ambassador Stefan Tafrov of Bulgaria, said the 15-member body noted the National Peace and Reconciliation Conference held in Liberia between August and September and urged the parties in the country to cease all fighting immediately and resort to dialogue for the peaceful settlement of the conflict. They also called on the parties to work with the international community to promote the conditions for free, transparent and inclusive elections in 2003.

Noting the decision of the Liberian Government to lift the state of emergency, Council members called on it to take additional measures to create a conducive environment for inclusive internal dialogue, Ambassador Tafrov said.

They reiterated that Liberia must fully respect the Council’s resolutions and noted that in November, it would be conducting a review of the measures imposed under resolutions 1343 and 1408, which include an arms embargo against Liberia, a ban against countries importing any rough diamonds from the country and travel restrictions placed on its senior officials.

In the statement, Council members welcomed the appointment of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s new Special Representative for West Africa, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, and the new Head of the UN Peace-building Support Office in Liberia (UNOL), Abou Moussa. They expressed support for the officials’ efforts to work with all parties concerned, including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU) in promoting national reconciliation in Liberia as well as in the sub-region.

Council members also welcomed the convening of the recent inaugural meeting of the International Contact Group, voicing their support for the group’s effort “to establish a cohesive political strategy and sustainable engagement for the resolution of conflicts in Liberia and strengthening peace in the Mano River Union.”

The statement said Council members might also call on Liberia to take additional steps to facilitate secure access to refugees and displaced persons by humanitarian workers.

Earlier Tuesday, UN Assistant Secretary-General Tuliameni Kalomoh updated the Council on the recent situation in Liberia.