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UN Lifts Last of Liberia Sanctions

FILE - A woman and two children walk past a mural in Monrovia, Liberia, Nov. 10, 2011. The United Nations on Wednesday lifted the last international sanctions against Liberia.

The U.N. Security Council has lifted the last international sanctions against Liberia.

The council has been progressively terminating the targeted measures that were imposed at the end of Liberia's civil war in 2003.

In 2009, a ban on timber exports, which along with diamonds had helped finance the conflict, was lifted. In September, the council ended a travel ban and asset freeze on designated individuals and entities. On Wednesday, it took the final step, unanimously voting to lift an arms embargo on non-state actors.

"Targeted sanctions in the context of Liberia have been very constructive," the country's U.N. Charge d'Affaires George S.W. Patten Sr. told the council. "The sanctions regime contributed, in large measure, to stabilization of the country and also stimulated post-conflict economic recovery."

U.S. Envoy David Pressman said the sanctions targeting Liberia's natural resources were "well tailored" and addressed unconventional sources of conflict financing.

"We would do well to consider similar measures targeting the funding and fueling of conflict in other situations we are facing today," he said.

In November, the United States lifted its unilateral sanctions against Liberia, which targeted former top Liberian government officials and the family and close allies of former President Charles Taylor.

Taylor set off Liberia's civil war in 1989, leading to an uprising that toppled then-President Samuel Doe. Taylor was elected president in 1997, leading to a second civil war that ended when Taylor fled the country.

He was sentenced to 50 years in prison in 2012 for instigating war and atrocities in neighboring Sierra Leone.