From: UN New York, Mar 5 2003 6:00PM
© UN News Centre at

United Nations Security Council members, deeply concerned at the humanitarian situation in Liberia, called on all West African states today to refrain from any interference in the affairs of their neighbours, particularly through the movement of arms or mercenaries.

In a press statement following consultations on Secretary-General Kofi Annan's latest report on Liberia, the Council's President, Ambassador Mamady Traoré of Guinea, said the 15 members called on the Government and the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) rebel group to stop human rights abuses and give unrestricted access to humanitarian organizations.

In his report, the Secretary-General warned that with elections approaching, Liberia is at a "critical crossroads between peace and conflict," and that continued support for Liberian rebels could engulf the whole of West Africa in an economic and humanitarian crisis.

Today, Council members encouraged the efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to facilitate ceasefire talks, especially the suggestion of a meeting in Mali on 10 March, Ambassador Traoré said. "They urged the Liberian Government and the LURD to participate constructively" under the auspices of ECOWAS mediator Amadou Toumany Touré.

"Council members welcomed the conclusions of the international contact group on Liberia, held on 28 February," the President said. They also recalled the necessity of carrying out a mission to the sub-region during the first half of 2003.

added by: Robert W. Kranz  March-2003