Global Policy Forum

UN Diplomats Counter Liberia's

Rappaport Trade Wire
February 2, 2001

The United States, Britain and Sierra Leone condemned Liberia at a UN Security Council meeting yesterday, countering Liberian Foreign Minister Monie Captan's claims that his country was the target of "unsubstantiated allegations of diamond smuggling and gun running."

Council members are likely to impose sanctions on Liberia, as proposed in a draft resolution sponsored by the U.S. and Britain. The resolution alleges that Liberia's president, Charles Taylor, has trafficked in diamonds and arms with rebels in Sierra Leone and calls for a ban on diamond exports and a new arms embargo.

Diplomats of the three nations addressing Captan had harsh words concerning Taylor's involvement with the illegal trade in Sierra Leone. Acting United States Ambassador James Cunningham said that Liberia's illegal acts were "one the world's most repugnant insurgencies." British Deputy Ambassador Stewart Eldon said that Taylor has "callously been prolonging the conflict in Sierra Leone for personal gain." Sierra Leone Ambassador Ibrahim Mbaba Kamara asked, "How long should the identities of those directly and actively involved in blood-diamond and illicit-arms transactions across our borders be concealed under the cloak of African brotherhood?"

Captan responded that instead of sanctions, the UN should become involved in helping to export diamonds through Liberia's central bank to recognized buyers.

The heads of other West African countries that were mentioned in the report also denied the allegations, including Gambia Ambassador Baboucarr-Blaise Jagne who said he was "flabbergasted by malicious allegations."

More Information on Diamonds in Conflict
More Information on Sierra Leone and Liberia
More Information on Sanctions


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