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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 May, 2003, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
UN extends Liberian sanctions
Liberian rebel fighter

The UN Security Council has extended its arms embargo against Liberia for twelve months, and added an export ban on unsawn timber.

Existing sanctions - including a ban on trade in rough diamonds and air travel restrictions on senior Liberian officials and their wives - are due to expire on Tuesday.

The ban on timber exports, a key revenue earner for the government of President Charles Taylor, would take effect on 7 July for 10 months.

The UN hopes it will cut government funds to buy arms and thereby halt the spread of the country's civil war to neighbouring countries.

Mr Taylor has said the UN sanctions deprive his country of its legitimate right to defend itself and that Liberia was importing arms.

Ceasefire call

Map of Liberia

The council agreed the new measures on Monday and is expected to adopt the resolution on Tuesday, the council's president Muni Akram of Pakistan said.

The council also called for the government and the rebel Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (Lurd) unconditional ceasefire talks.

The Lurd is backed by neighbouring Guinea, a Security Council member.

The sanctions were first imposed in 2001 to stop Liberia supporting the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in neighbouring Sierra Leone.

The RUF has largely been disarmed in the past two years.

Human Rights Watch supported the renewal of sanctions.

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29 Apr 03  |  Africa
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Liberia breaks arms embargo
27 Mar 03  |  Africa

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