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The BBC's Mark Devenport
"It's just a case now of which particular sanctions will be brought"
 real 28k

Liberian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Monie Kapton
"Everything that Liberia has done has been met with scepticism"
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Thursday, 25 January, 2001, 17:16 GMT
UN debates Liberia sanctions
RUF fighters in Sierra Leone
The UN says that Liberia is supporting Sierra Leone's RUF rebels
The United Kingdom has called for immediate and sweeping sanctions to be imposed on Liberia.

The call came at the start of a UN Security Council debate on a recent UN report, which accused President Charles Taylor's government of prolonging the civil war in neighbouring Sierra Leone by trafficking in guns and "blood" diamonds.

President Charles Taylor is actively involved in fueling the violence in Sierra Leone

UN report
"There can no longer be a shadow of a doubt that President Taylor has been callously prolonging the conflict for personal gain," said Stewart Eldon, Britain's deputy ambassador to the UN.

Before the debate began Liberian Foreign Minister Monie Captan was making frantic efforts to head off sanctions against his country.

Mr Captan had a series of meetings in New York on Wednesday to convince diplomats that Liberia was prepared to work with the UN in investigating the allegations.

Liberian efforts

In attempts to avoid sanctions, It has already announced the grounding of all Liberian-registered aircraft.

US sponsored motion calls for
Arms embargo
Ban on diamond and timber exports
Ban on the takeoff and landing of Liberian aircraft
Travel ban on senior Liberian officials
President Charles Taylor has also offered to resign if it is found that he has personally benefited from diamond trading.

Mr Captan said "we feel Liberia is being demonised", and added that sanctions are not the way to solve the problem.

"What I believe is that the UN should say 'Liberia you are willing to co-operate... let us take you up on that'... You have the option of last resort to impose sanctions."

Liberia is being demonised

Foreign Minister Monie Captan
Liberia says it is willing to allow UN monitors at its airports, seaports and borders.

Liberia also wants the UN to supervise all diamond matters in the country.

Doubts were expressed amongst diplomats that these measures would head off the threat of sanctions, but they may end up not being as severe as the motion suggests.

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See also:

23 Jan 01 | Africa
Liberian leader offers to resign
19 Jan 01 | Africa
UN to isolate Liberia
10 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Liberia
21 Dec 00 | Africa
Anger at Liberia sanctions delay
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