The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously Wednesday to impose new sanctions on Liberia if the country continues to support RUF rebels in Sierra Leone. The U.N. has asked Liberia to cut its links and stop sending aid to RUF rebels, cease all direct or indirect import of Sierra Leone rough diamonds not certified by the government, ground all Liberian aircraft until the country sets up an acceptable registration system for planes and to ensure rebels allow U.N. peacekeepers to move freely through Sierra Leone.
If Liberian President Charles Taylor does not comply with the U.N. demands by May 7, the U.N. will impose sanctions including an embargo on all Liberian diamond exports and a travel ban for all senior members of the Liberian government and their spouses. The sanctions would be effective until May 2002, and the Security Council could vote to extend them if Liberia hasn't complied. In addition, Wednesday's resolution calls for the creation of a panel of experts to investigate violations of the embargoes and to collect information on Liberia's compliance with the council's demands.
Before the Security Council's vote, Liberian officials announced the government would suspend diamond exports for 120 days while it creates a diamond certification system. Government officials continue to deny backing RUF rebels, but say they will fully cooperate with the U.N. to prevent the implementation of sanctions. Taylor also promised to expel Sierra Leone rebels from Liberia and says he has already grounded aircraft, the Associated Press reports.
For background information, see these articles:
U.S. Proposes Liberian Diamond Embargo, Liberia and Gambia Deny Helping Rebels and
U.N. Experts Advocate Stricter Barriers for Conflict Diamonds.
For more information on the recent and past conflict diamond developments, visit our Conflict Diamond Archive.
- by Julia M. Duncan