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UN Security Council to Discuss Lifting Sanctions Against Liberia

Later this month, the UN Security Council is expected to consider lifting diamond and timber sanctions against Liberia. The sanctions were imposed in 2003 because the Council felt those resources provided funding for the war efforts of former Liberian president Charles Taylor. Frank Sainworla is radio director of our affiliate Radio Veritas in the Liberian capital, Monrovia. He tells Voice of America English to Africa reporter James Butty that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf spoke over the weekend about the need for the United Nations to lift the sanctions.

“President Sirleaf has said she has told members of the Security Council and other governments that there is a need for the lifting of the sanctions this June because it would help to boost the war-torn economy of Liberia. President Sirleaf also says the lifting of the sanctions would also help her government to improve the welfare of the people.”

Sainworla says President Sirleaf took issue with the report from the London-based human rights group Global Witness, which recommended that the Security Council maintain sanctions against Liberia.

Sainworla says the views are mixed as to whether the Security Council should lift the arms embargo against Liberia.

“There’s one theory that the embargo should be lifted in order to strengthen the hands of the police. There are others who think that the lifting of the embargo on arms is not necessary. But President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf disclosed over the weekend that the UN Security Council has agreed to waive the embargo, meaning partial lifting of the embargo on arms in order to assist the government to rearm the Liberian national police and other state security.”

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