EXTENDING SANCTIONS AGAINST LIBERIA, SECURITY COUNCIL ADDS BAN ON TIMBER EXPORTS
From: UN New York, May 07 2003 05:00PM
© UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news
Citing Liberia's "active support" of
rebel groups which are having a destabilizing effect on West Africa, the
United Nations Security Council today renewed sanctions against that
country, extending the measures to include a ban on timber exports in
addition to existing arms and diamond embargoes.
The resolution, adopted
unanimously, continues the arms, diamond and travel sanctions for another 12
months. The Council initially approved the measures in May 2001, after
determining that President Charles Taylor's government had helped the rebel
Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone fight the government there,
and renewed them last May.
The new ban on timber exports begins on 7 July and will run for 10 months,
but the Council will review the sanctions by 7 September to consider how
best to minimize their impact on the country's humanitarian situation and
could allow exports to resume to fund relief programmes. The ban was
prompted, according to the text, because the Government has not shown that
revenue from the timber industry "is used for legitimate social,
humanitarian and development purposes."
The measures would also be terminated immediately if the Council, based on
information received from various sources, including the Economic Community
of West African States (ECOWAS), determined that the Government had complied
with its demand. The Council stressed its readiness to grant exemptions from
travel restrictions in cases where travel would assist in the peaceful
resolution of the conflict in the sub-region.
The Council's action today follows consultations with its Panel of Experts
on Liberia's compliance with international sanctions thus far. The Panel's
three-month investigation in West Africa revealed that the country's ongoing
conflict has spilled over into Sierra Leone, Guinea and now Côte d'Ivoire,
threatening the region as a whole. According to the experts, Monrovia and
rival rebel groups continue to violate the UN arms embargo, through a
network of Serbian arms dealers, Chinese timber companies and fake
The text expresses "serious concern" at the Panel's findings and determines
that the "active support provided by the Government of Liberia to armed
rebel groups in the region - including rebel groups in Côte d'Ivoire and
former RUF combatants who continue to destabilize the region, constitutes a
threat to international peace and security."
The Council also reiterated its demand that all States in the region cease
military support for armed groups in neighbouring countries and refrain from
any actions that might contribute to further destabilization of the
situation in the region. It declared its readiness to consider ways of
promoting compliance with that demand.
Deeply concerned by the deteriorating humanitarian situation, widespread
human rights violations and prevailing insecurity, the Council called on all
States in the region to participate actively in regional peace initiatives.
It called on Monrovia and the Liberians United for Reconciliation and
Democracy (LURD) rebel group to begin bilateral ceasefire talks under the
auspices of the ECOWAS and former President Abdulsalami Abubakar of Nigeria.
Reiterating its call on the Government to establish an effective Certificate
of Origin for its diamonds, the Council decided that rough diamonds
controlled through such a Certificate of Origin regime would be exempt from
the export prohibition.
The Council also requested Secretary-General Kofi Annan to establish, within
three months, another Panel of Experts to conduct a follow-up assessment
mission to Liberia and neighbouring States in order to investigate Liberia's
compliance with Council demands, to review the Government's budgetary
system, and to examine the role of the timber industry in embargo