U.N. Enforces Diamond Ban on Liberia


May 7, 2001

U.N. Enforces Diamond Ban on Liberia

The United Nations Security Council today put into effect a ban on Liberian diamond exports as well as overseas travel by Liberian President Charles Taylor and selected other Liberian government officials. The sanctions are meant as punishment for Liberia's continued role in aiding and abetting rebels from Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front, who have exploited the country's diamond resources and committed countless atrocities.

A U.N. panel in December reported Liberia was providing RUF rebels with arms, training, logistical support and safe havens in return for looted diamonds. Liberia agreed to sever ties with the rebels, but last week, the U.N. said the Liberian government had failed to close down RUF bank accounts or expel its leaders as demanded. Liberia denied those charges over the weekend.

Meanwhile, RUF and the government of Sierra Leone met for two days of peace talks last week in Nigeria. Both sides came away upbeat, reports BBC News, though RUF has yet to agree to withdraw from the country's diamond mining areas, a key demand of the government. Last week, the U.N. mission in Sierra Leone reported it was preparing to move into the country's diamond fields to take control away from the rebels.

- by Peggy Jo Donahue