A U.N. panel of experts says the government of Liberia continues to violate international sanctions, especially in terms of arms imports and diamond exports. In a report to the U.N. Security Council, the panel said it had identified numerous instances of illegal arms shipments to Liberia and the export of diamonds in violation of the sanctions.

Martin Ayafor of Cameroon, who chaired the panel of experts, told the Council that evidence disproves Liberia's position that it has observed the sanctions. "Despite the Liberian government's public commitments that it has complied with the arms embargo, a steady flow of new weapons continues to enter the country," he says. "In this respect, the panel has documented five detailed case studies on such sanctions violations."

Mr. Ayafor said he is aware of reports that al-Qaida and other terrorist groups may have links to the illicit diamond trade in West Africa. However, he indicated that a further investigation is needed to find solid evidence of that.

The Security Council tightened sanctions against Liberia earlier this year to, among other things, reduce the flow of arms from Liberia to the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) guerilla group in Sierra Leone. In recent months, the United Nations has made major progress in disarming much of the RUF. However, sporadic fighting continues on the border between Liberia and Guinea.