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Last Updated: Friday, 7 November, 2003, 00:18 GMT
UN maintains sanctions on Liberia
UN peacekeepers in Liberia
The UN is still building up its peacekeeping force
The United Nations Security Council has decided to keep sanctions on Liberia, three months after the end of the devastating civil war there.

Sanctions were imposed during the rule of President Charles Taylor, accused of fomenting violence in neighbouring states such as Sierra Leone.

The security council said there was not yet enough stability to lift sanctions.

Members also heard that Mr Taylor continues to intervene in Liberian affairs from exile in Nigeria.

"The situation is such that the sanctions will just continue," said Angolan Ambassador Ismael Gaspar Martins, the council's president for November.

Sanctions cover diamonds, arms, logging and some travel.

The council examined a report from a UN panel monitoring the sanctions which recorded some progress since Mr Taylor was forced into exile in August.

The report noted that the interim government in Monrovia still lacked the funds to operate properly.

It also found that the country's commerce was riddled with corruption with fuel and foodstuffs, for example, overpriced and illicit diamond exports continuing.

'Taylor's deals'

Attempts to trace illicit bank accounts and other illegal activities by Mr Taylor and others, the report continued, have so far met with little response from governments and firms in the United States, Britain, Switzerland and China, among others.

Meanwhile the former president "has diverted and continues to divert revenues and assets of the Government of Liberia", it said.

The UN report cited as one example an attempt by Mr Taylor to sell off property in South Africa which houses the Liberian embassy.

It also called on the international community to show support for the transition government of Gyude Bryant while "remaining vigilant to the re-emergence of corruption and state-sanctioned violence".

Mr Martins, who noted that the UN peacekeeping force in Liberia had reached half of its peak strength of 15,000 personnel, said the Security Council would discuss the sanctions again "at the appropriate time".


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