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Security Council to draft statement on strategy to deal with Liberia, President says

Security Council to draft statement on strategy to deal with Liberia, President says

As part of its semi-annual review of the sanctions imposed on Liberia, the members of the Security Council will be drafting a statement to elaborate a comprehensive strategy for dealing with the situation in that country, the President of the 15-nation body said today.

The members agreed that the Council must remain engaged with Liberia and its people, and also reaffirmed their support for regional initiatives, Ambassador Wang Yingfan of China said in a press statement, referring to the efforts of the Rabat Process, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the recently established International Contact Group to restore peace and stability in the Mano River Union subregion.

During their closed-door talks today, Council members considered reports from its sanctions committee on Liberia, an expert panel monitoring compliance with the measures, and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on links between members of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone and the Liberian Government.

In his statement, Ambassador Wang said Council members expressed their concern that the Government of President Charles Taylor continued to violate the sanctions, including by importing weapons in breach of the arms embargo, and that he had not met the Council's demands in resolution 1343. That text called for Monrovia to expel all RUF members from Liberia, freeze funds that could be linked to RUF and cease all financial and military support for the group.

According to Ambassador Wang, Council members had "full and detailed discussions, including on the relevance of the progress made in Sierra Leone and its effect on the current sanctions, whether the sanctions were having the desired effect, reports of continued violations of the sanctions, prospects for enhancement of the current sanctions regime and how to ensure that the present sanctions regime remained targeted."

They noted that some of the recommendations proposed in the expert panel report had already been acted on, and requested the sanctions committee to implement those recommendations that were agreed to by the Council this morning, he added.

Members of the Council also noted that prohibitions on the sale and supply to Liberia of arms and related materiel called for in the resolution applied to any recipient in Liberia, including all non-State actors such as the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), Ambassador Wang said.

Noting that the panel's report found that the sanctions only had a negligible impact on the humanitarian situation in Liberia, Council members expressed regret that the Government has used the embargo as an excuse for its failure to improve services and reform, and urged it to direct its resources towards addressing the country's humanitarian crisis. They also called on the international community to help the country to alleviate the worsening humanitarian crisis.