OSINT LIBERIA: Security Council wants review before sanctions can be lifted

ABIDJAN, 7 November (IRIN) – The United Nations Security Council has called for “a more thorough and more comprehensive review” of the fragile security situation Liberia before sanctions that were imposed in 2001 can be lifted.

Two years ago, the United Nations banned illicit diamond sales by Liberia, imposed an arms embargo and blocked travel by key officials of Liberia’s former government led by Charles Taylor. The measures were taken in response to Liberia’s alleged support for rebels in neighbouring Sierra Leone.

Taylor’s government was angered by the decision. It said the Council decision was “puzzling, unfair, wrong and double standards targeted at destroying Liberia.”

A rebel assault on the capital Monrovia and mounting international pressure forced Taylor to resign and leave Liberia for exile in Nigeria on 11 August. The rump of his government signed a peace agreement with two rebel movements a week later and a broad-based transitional government was sworn in on 14 October, with a mandate to organise elections in 2005.

To restore security in the war-ravaged country, the UN approved a 15,000-strong peacekeeping force. So far, about 5,000 troops have arrived in the country. These are mostly deployed in and around the capital, Monrovia.

A UN spokesman in New York, Stephane Dujarric, said on Thursday that while the overall security situation in Monrovia was stable and improving, the situation in other parts of the country, particularly in the areas still controlled by the two major rebel groups, remains volatile.

“UNMIL is still not in a position to deploy troops throughout Liberia,” Dujarric said.