Global Policy Forum

Liberia Pledges Compliance With UN

Associated Press
March 8, 2001

Liberia denied backing Sierra Leone's rebels and said it will fully cooperate with the United Nations to prove its innocence before sanctions take hold in two months. ``This will show to the international community that Liberia has nothing to hide, that we are not a rogue state,'' Foreign Minister Monie Captan said late Wednesday, hours after the Security Council voted to impose sanctions.

The U.N. Security Council accuses Liberia of supporting rebels in neighboring Sierra Leone, where tens of thousands of civilians have been killed, and many more raped and mutilated in a systematic terror campaign to gain control of the country's diamond mines. In a unanimous vote Wednesday, the Security Council warned Liberia that travel restrictions and an embargo on its own diamonds will go into effect in two months unless Liberia ends all support for the rebels, including arms- and diamond-trafficking.

The Security Council also imposed an arms embargo on Liberia. It canceled a ban that was never officially lifted after the West African nation's 1989-96 civil war and replaced it with a new one, effective immediately. Liberian President Charles Taylor, who was implicated by a U.N.-commissioned investigation, has denied the accusations but has promised to expel all Sierra Leone rebels from Liberia and said he has grounded Liberian aircraft.

Hours before the Security Council vote, Liberia also announced it was imposing a 120-day ban on its diamond exports to give authorities time to establish a gem certification regime that is ``internationally verifiable and transparent.'' Captan, in his late-night news conference in the capital, Monrovia, declared Liberia had started the measures ahead of the Security Council vote.

``The premise on which the Security Council has imposed this resolution on Liberia -- that the country is guilty of causing problems in the subregion -- is one that continues to be rejected by the Liberian government,'' he told reporters. ``Nevertheless, as a responsible government we have an obligation, whether the Security Council is accurate or wrong in the assertion that they have made, to comply with their demands,'' Captan said.

Liberia will ask the United Nations to put a verification system in place to confirm Liberia's compliance, the foreign minister said. ``It would be unfair to the Liberian government and people, if at the end of the 60 days someone will sit in New York and say, `You haven't complied,''' he said.

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


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