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Friday, 16 February, 2001, 11:32 GMT
UN delays Liberia sanctions
Sierra Leoneans demonstrate in front of a UN soldier
UN says Liberia is prolonging problems in Sierra Leone
Liberia has been given two months to convince the United Nations that it has ended its support of Sierra Leonean rebels or face tough sanctions.

The United States and the UK have said they are willing to delay the imposition of most of a series of planned sanctions against Liberia.

UK-US Proposed sanctions
Diamond and timber trade ban
Flight ban
Restrictions on travel by Liberian officials
Arms ban

The two countries have been backing a United Nations motion including a diamond and arms embargo on the country.

The motion is intended to put pressure on Liberia to stop supporting the Sierra Leonean rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) which has been accused of prolonging the civil war there.

African concerns

The USA and the UK say they have backed down to give west African nations the chance to negotiate with Liberian President Charles Taylor themselves.

On Monday west African UN ambassadors argued that they wanted the two months delay in order to monitor Mr Taylor's willingness to co-operate.

Mr Taylor says his government is making efforts to cut its ties with the RUF.

Malian Ambassador Moctar Ouane warned the Security Council from taking immediate action saying this would divide support for the sanctions.

A compromise motion emerged on Thursday which, if passed, would put the arms embargo into immediate effect, but delay the diamond and travel ban for two months.

The proposed aircraft and timber sanctions are likely to be dropped.

The original resolution was based on a December report by an independent UN panel that accused Liberia of training the RUF rebels, giving them logistical support and providing a staging ground for warfare against the Sierra Leone government.

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See also:

25 Jan 01 | Africa
UN debates Liberia sanctions
23 Jan 01 | Africa
Liberian leader offers to resign
19 Jan 01 | Africa
UN to isolate Liberia
12 Feb 01 | Africa
Timeline: Liberia
10 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Liberia
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