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Friday, 22 December, 2000, 12:53 GMT
UN says Liberia 'destabilising' region
RUF rebel fighters in Sierra Leone
RUF fighters, supported by Liberia, operate in Guinea
The United Nations Security Council has issued a strong-worded statement calling on West African countries - particularly Liberia - to refrain from providing military support to rebels launching attacks on southern Guinea.

The statement condemned the attacks by the rebels whom it says operate out of Liberia and Sierra Leone.

It said the council deplored the attacks, which killed many civilians, and caused an exodus of local inhabitants and refugees, exacerbating an already grave humanitarian situation in the region.

Aid agencies say hundreds of thousands of Liberian and Sierra-Leonean refugees, who had fled from fighting in their own countries, had to flee yet again from refugee camps set up in southern Guinea.

Liberia denies involvement in the attacks in Guinea, accusing it of harbouring rebels who carry out attacks into Liberia.

'Destabilisation'

The statement, which received unanimous support, was read aloud at a public meeting by Russian ambassador Sergei Lavrov, the current president of the security council.


The statement calls on "all states, particularly Liberia, to refrain from providing any such military support and from any act that might contribute to further destabilisation of the situation on the borders between Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone."

For nearly four months rebels have attacked towns and villages in the south and east of Guinea.

The government says more than 700 people have died in the raids.

The latest attacks, on the towns of Gueckedou and Kissidougou, caused hundreds of thousands of Sierra Leonean and Liberian refugees to flee their camps.

Liberia slammed

This is the second time in a week Liberia has been condemned by the United Nations for its destabilising role in West Africa.

Refugees flee from rebel attacks
Guinea harbours half a million refugees
In a report yet to be published, Liberia is accused of systematically breaking arms and diamond embargoes on Sierra Leone and directly fuelling the conflict there.

It singles out President Charles Taylor for particular criticism and recommends that sanctions, including travel restrictions on senior government officials, be imposed on Liberia.

On Wednesday about 10,000 people marched in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, protesting against possible sanctions - analysts say it was an opportunity for Mr Taylor to attempt to make political capital and deflect personal criticism.

President Charles Taylor
President Taylor could face a travel ban
Earlier in December the 15-member regional grouping, the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), agreed to establish a military force to patrol the common borders of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Ecowas leaders urged Guinea and Liberia to stop cross-border attacks and to disarm rebel groups.

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See also:

22 Dec 00 | Africa
UN exposes Angola diamond trade
20 Dec 00 | Africa
UN finds 'lost' refugees
11 Dec 00 | Africa
Crisis talks over Guinea
03 Dec 00 | Africa
Burkina Faso co-operates on arms
23 Oct 00 | Africa
Civil war fears in Guinea
07 Sep 00 | Americas
Africa: UN's 'strategic ghetto'
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