Monrovia – The Charge d’Affaires, a. i. of the Permanent Mission of Liberia to the United Nations has commended the United Nations Security Council for lifting the remaining sanctions and an arms embargo imposed on Liberia during the civil crisis.
Mr. George Patten acknowledged that the targeted sanctions on key individuals, the arms embargo and a ban on the export of Liberian timber and rough diamonds were well placed. According to a dispatch from New York, the Liberian diplomat, speaking on Wednesday, May 25, 2016, following the unanimous vote by members of the UN Security Council to terminate sanctions on Liberia imposed through resolution 1521, said while there has been numerous debates about the usefulness of sanctions, targeted sanctions in the context of Liberia have been very constructive. Mr. Patten referred to the sanctions regime as having contributed, in large measure, to the stabilization of the country and also stimulated post-conflict economic recovery. The Charge d’Affaires informed the UN Security Council that the Liberian Government, despite capacity constraints, cooperated very effectively with them and remained constructively engaged with the panel of experts in meeting their expectations, which according to him, provided the Government the opportunity to make the country a safe and stable place for all Liberians as well as foreign residents. On some of the specific concerns previously raised by the UN Security Council including the enactment of relevant laws to regulate fire arms, Mr. Patten pointed out that the 53rd National Legislature recently passed the Fire Arms and Ammunition Control Act of 2015 which provides the legal framework for the management of arms in the country. In addition, he further informed the Security Council of the passage of the Police and Immigration Acts, as compliments to the Fire Arms and Ammunition Control Act. Meanwhile, Mr. Patten expressed gratitude to the Resolution 1521 Committee comprising all members of the UN Security Council including the various chairs of the Committee for their support. He also thanked the panel of experts for the numerous visits to Liberia and the sub-region to ensure that the sanctions were implemented. Mr. Patten said the termination of the sanctions regime will provide further motivation to the Government to strengthen the capacity of national security institutions as they assume their constitutional role of protecting lives and property and safeguarding the territorial integrity of Liberia. For his part, alternate representative for special political affairs, at the Permanent Mission of the United States to the UN, Mr. David Pressman, said that the targeted sanctions were crafted in support of the Liberian Peace Agreement. He said the effectiveness of the sanction regime in Liberia was a testament of how progress can be achieved when such measures are taken with a clear purpose and determination to consolidate peace. The US diplomat urged the Liberian Government to work closely with its people to maintain peace and stability, and assured that his Government will continue to support Liberia’s post-war reconstruction process. In separate remarks, the representatives of Japan, China and Ukraine, expressed support for the lifting of sanctions and praised the Government and people of Liberia for their steadfastness during the period. They assured Liberia of their country's fullest support as Liberia assumes full responsibility of its own security. The UN Security Council voted on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 to end sanctions and an arms embargo on Liberia, citing the country’s more than a decade of peace and stability after a 14-year civil war. The decision formally dissolves the UN Liberia sanctions committee and panel of experts that monitored implementation of the arms embargo and other measures, most of which had been in place since 2003. The UN first implemented a type of arms embargo for Liberia in 1992. The Security Council last year lifted a travel ban and asset freezes on individuals deemed a danger to Liberia‘s stability. The United States lifted its own economic sanctions on Liberia in November. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also welcomed the end of sanctions on Liberia, calling it another signal of progress made by Liberia and the sub-region in maintaining stability.