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Friday, 25 January, 2002, 13:20 GMT
Liberia sanctions 'unjustified'
Former Sierra Leone rebel soldiers
Sierra Leone rebels have handed in their weapons
Mark Doyle

Liberia has said the United Nations sanctions imposed upon it because of its involvement with rebels in the Sierra Leonean war should be lifted.

The 12 months-restriction was imposed last May by the UN because of Liberia's backing for the notoriously brutal rebels in neighbouring Sierra Leone.

President of Liberia Charles Taylor
Taylor wants restrictions removed

The sanction most keenly felt by the Liberian government is a travel ban on government ministers and senior officials.

But now the diamond-fuelled Sierra Leone conflict is over and most of the Sierra Leone rebel leaders have exchanged combat fatigues for newly-cut civilian suits, and they want to join the political process.

War is over

Last week the war in Sierra Leone was declared officially over and the Liberian government says the UN sanctions against it should not continue.

The United Nations and the world can look upon Liberia with some sympathy and say hey, it's all over.

Reginald Goodridge
Liberian information minister

Liberian information minister Reginald Goodridge says that the world should realise that Liberia had also played its role in ending the war in Sierra Leone.

"We did our part in trying to help to bring about peace in Sierra Leone", he said.

"We are happy for the Sierra Leoneans now, and I think that the United Nations and the world can look upon Liberia with some sympathy and say hey, it's all over, let's go back to square one and begin the process of rebuilding."

UN officials responsible for imposing the Liberian sanctions are sceptical about Liberia's full compliance with the ban on diamond dealing, and say President Charles Taylor is still at the centre of various criminal activities.

But ordinary Liberian citizens are hoping nonetheless that the end of the Sierra Leonean war might mean an end to the international isolation of Liberia.

See also:

30 Oct 01 | Africa
Liberia denies busting sanctions
04 May 01 | Africa
UN imposes sanctions on Liberia
15 May 00 | Africa
Diamonds: A rebel's best friend
12 Feb 01 | Africa
Timeline: Liberia
10 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Liberia
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