25 January 1996


Press Release
SC/6162*



INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY MUST NOT MAKE LIBERIA ANOTHER ORPHAN IN QUEST FOR PEACE, SECURITY COUNCIL TOLD

19960125
26 States Speak; Support for UNOMIL'S Extension, Need for Parties to Respect Cease-fire, Abuja Agreement Expressed

The international community must not yield to the prevailing mood of "Afro-pessimism" and make of Liberia another orphan in the quest for peace, the representative of Togo said this afternoon, as the Security Council considered the situation in that country. International efforts should aim at encouraging the parties to respect the agreements which they had voluntarily undertaken, including the Abuja Agreement of August 1995.

Echoing the view of a number of speakers, he said the peace process was now at a turning point. Sufficient financial and logistical support must be provided, to enable the various players in the peace process to effectively carry out their roles. Those players included the Economic Community of West African States' Monitoring Observer Group (ECOMOG), and the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL).

The representative of Ghana said that the international community, represented by the Security Council, had yet to show enough interest in Liberia. He recalled that the Head of State of Ghana had stated that the international community was willing to spend $5 million a day on United Nations peace-keeping operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but when asked for a sum that represented 10 to 15 days of that bill to help Liberia, "there was a deafening silence".

The Minister for Foreign Affairs of the National Transitional Government of Liberia, Momolu V. Sackor Sirleaf, welcomed the innovation in the working methods of the Council which afforded interested delegations an opportunity to participate in open deliberations prior to Council decisions on the maintenance of international peace and security.

"The Liberian civil war is virtually over", he said describing "the recent skirmishes" in Tubmanburg and other areas of the country as unfortunate incidents. Consultations had been held with the disaffected party to hear its


* Press Release SC/6162 and Meeting No. 3621 dated 24 January, should have been numbered SC/6161 and should have carried the Meeting No. 3620.

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grievances and to find acceptable, peaceful means to address them. He appealed to the international community to assist ECOMOG to carry out its mandate.

In considering the situation in Liberia, the Council had before it a report of the Secretary-General, in which he recommends the extension of UNOMIL's mandate for an additional four months -- a proposal which enjoyed general support, in the meeting. However, most speakers stressed the need for the Liberian parties to respect the current cease-fire, abide by the Abuja Agreement, and accept the results of legislative and presidential elections scheduled for August.

While many statements noted the progress towards peace and national reconciliation which had been made following the signing at Abuja, they cited such incidents as the attack on ECOMOG forces at Tubmanburg last December as posing serious obstacles to the peace process. Without a demonstration of political will by the parties, the continued support of the international community could not be taken for granted, they said.

The representative of the United States, addressing the Council following her return from an official visit to Liberia, said the conflict in Liberia was among the elite, not the people. They were not fighting over ideology but over personal power. The members of the Liberian Council of State offered many reasons for the delay in disarmament and demobilization but her message to them had been simple, "No more excuses." The United States had no intention of allowing its logistical support to be squandered by a failure of political will by any side. Moreover, the era of the child soldier in Liberia must come to an end immediately.

The ECOMOG deserved the Council's support, but its force structure should be more diversified among Member States of the region, she added.

Summing up the discussion, Council President Sir John Weston (United Kingdom) added that most speakers had emphasized that the efforts of all concerned would be required if recent set-backs were to be overcome. The complementarity between national, regional and international efforts was cited, as well as the need for continued support for ECOMOG.

The Council will hold consultations this afternoon on the Secretary- General's recommendations concerning the extension of UNOMIL's mandate.

Statements were also made by the representatives of Germany, China, Italy, Botswana, Egypt, France, Honduras, Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Poland, Russian Federation, Guinea-Bissau, Chile, United Kingdom, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Nigeria, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Czech Republic and Cote d'Ivoire.

The meeting, which was called to order at 10:52 a.m., was adjourned at 1:58 p.m.


Secretary-General's Report

The Security Council meets this morning to consider the situation in Liberia.

In a report on developments in Liberia since 18 December 1995 (documents S/1996/47 and Add.1), the Secretary-General recommends that the Council consider an extension of the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL) for a period of four months, until 31 May. At that time, the situation will be reviewed, keeping in mind that, under the Abuja Agreement, elections are scheduled to be held before the end of August. During that period, the Secretary-General expects the Liberian National Transitional Government (LNTG) and the faction leaders in Liberia to cooperate with the Economic Community of West African States' Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) and UNOMIL in stabilizing the situation and in implementing the Agreement.

Should the Council decide to extend UNOMIL's mandate, the Secretary- General will seek the additional resources required from the General Assembly. The Assembly has authorized him to enter into commitments in the amount of $12,169,600 gross for UNOMIL for the period 1 February to 31 March, subject to the extension of its mandate by the Council. As of 15 January, unpaid assessed contributions to the UNOMIL special account since its inception amounted to $7.7 million. Contributions of about $24 million to the Trust Fund for Liberia, as of 15 January 1996, had been received, and expenditures of some $21.9 million had been authorized.

The Secretary-General's report was issued in pursuance of Council resolution 1014 (1995) which extended the mandate of UNOMIL until 31 January 1996, and resolution 1020 (1995) which adjusted the mandate. An addendum to the report contains a map of UNOMIL deployment as of 19 January.

The Secretary-General observes that recent events in Liberia have delayed the implementation of the Abuja Agreement further. The peace process is now at a critical juncture, and the full support of all concerned will be required to overcome the recent setbacks. The faction leaders must ensure that their forces effectively observe the cease-fire, disengage without further delay and provide the cooperation necessary to enable ECOMOG and UNOMIL to initiate disarmament and demobilization as soon as possible. The LNTG must provide its full support to these efforts and play an active role in ensuring that the Liberian factions extend the necessary cooperation to ECOMOG and UNOMIL. The international community, for its part, must provide the resources necessary to enable ECOMOG to fulfil its responsibilities effectively, since the continued lack of such support could jeopardize the implementation of the Agreement.

The success of the demobilization process will depend on whether ex- combatants can sustain themselves other than by use of the gun. The creation


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of such opportunities depends, in part, on the provision of funds by the donor community and on private investment. Such support will not be forthcoming, however, unless there is a safe and secure environment. This depends, in turn, on the successful disarmament of combatants.

The Abuja Agreement of 19 August 1995 addressed the composition of the Council of State and called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the United Nations to monitor the operations of the Ad Hoc Elections Commission. According to the Agreement, the disengagement of forces was to be completed by 26 September 1995 and for disarmament to commence on 1 December 1995. That timetable underestimated the delays and obstacles involved. The causes for delay have become more serious, and they can be overcome only if the faction leaders are determined to proceed with the peace process, bearing in mind that ECOWAS and the international community cannot be expected to support the peace process indefinitely.

The period under review has been dominated by the question of the disarmament and demobilization of combatants, the Secretary-General continues. However, the peace process suffered a setback when General Roosevelt Johnson's wing of the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO-J) attacked ECOMOG in Tubmanburg on 28 December 1995. The Nigerian Foreign Minister said that the developments in Tubmanburg confirmed the risks ECOMOG had taken in deploying its troops without the strength and resources necessary to carry out its mandate effectively. He expressed concern over the delay in the delivery of logistic resources pledged to ECOMOG and emphasized the need for further international assistance in this regard.

According to the Secretary-General, while efforts to contain the situation are continuing, reports of fighting and looting of villages by ULIMO-J combatants in other parts of Liberia are still being received.

In its resolution 1020 (1995), the Security Council requested UNOMIL "to observe and verify the election process, in consultation with OAU and ECOWAS, including the legislative and presidential elections to be held in accordance with provisions of the peace agreements". In the report, the Secretary- General states his intention to appoint a Senior Electoral Officer who will follow the preparatory phases of the electoral process on a full-time basis. He will also send a technical mission to Liberia, which will consult LNTG, OAU and ECOWAS in drafting a framework for the observation and verification of the electoral process. Thereafter, the Secretary-General will submit further recommendations to the Security Council.

The fighting in Tubmanburg was the most serious cease-fire violation since the signing of the Abuja Agreement. It began on 28 December 1995, when ECOMOG positions in the town, as well as along the highway up to Kle, were attacked and overrun by ULIMO-J fighters. After lengthy consultations,


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fighting ceased on 4 January 1996, but the situation remains tense. All UNOMIL personnel deployed to Tubmanburg were evacuated by 30 December 1995. The ECOMOG has reported that it suffered 94 casualties (16 dead and 78 wounded), with an additional 10 soldiers reported missing in action. ECOMOG arms, ammunition and equipment were also seized by ULIMO-J. Civilian and ULIMO-J casualties are so far undetermined.

During the period under review, several additional cease-fire violations were reported. These included harassment of civilians, humanitarian workers and ECOMOG troops by combatants in other areas. There has been no progress in the disengagement of forces and fighters continue to occupy their positions and maintain checkpoints. The deployment of ECOMOG has been suspended in the light of the Tubmanburg incident.

The UNOMIL has continued to monitor the human rights situation in Liberia and carry out investigations of major violations. The fighting in Tubmanburg and Kle has had serious human rights implications.

The United Nations Humanitarian Assistance Coordination Office is engaged in designing programmes and activities that would lead to the reintegration of the demobilized. It is also focusing on the immediate requirement for concerted humanitarian action in response to the needs arising from the recent fighting. The humanitarian assistance community has continued its efforts to reach previously inaccessible parts of the country. Although relief convoys are generally escorted by unarmed factional representatives, poor communications between faction leaders and their fighters in the hinterland have impeded humanitarian assistance activities.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) held a regional conference in Monrovia in early December in preparation for the organized repatriation of the estimated 750,000 Liberian refugees. With increased security near the Guinean border in northern Liberia, some 7,000 Liberian refugees have crossed into Nimba County since the latter part of 1995. It is expected that the recent opening of some roads to the border counties, as well as the reconstruction by the World Food Programme (WFP) of the bridge linking north-eastern Liberia with Côte d'Ivoire, will further accelerate the voluntary return of refugees. While economic activity continues to increase, maintenance of this trend will depend on the restoration of secure conditions throughout the country.

Statements

MOMOLU V. SACKOR SIRLEAF, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the National Transitional Government of Liberia, said he welcomed the innovation in the working methods of the Council which afforded interested delegations an opportunity to participate in open deliberations of the Council prior to its decisions on matters bearing on the maintenance of international peace and


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security. That approach promoted transparency, broadened participation in the Council's work, and pointed towards the eventual enlargement and democratization of the Council.

He expressed gratitude to the Secretary-General for his untiring involvement in the search for a durable, peaceful solution to the Liberian civil war. He cited, in particular, the initiatives which facilitated the convening of the Conference on Assistance to Liberia, during which financial and other pledges were made in support of the Abuja Agreement, the disarmament and demobilization processes, the recovery and rehabilitation needs of the country, and assistance to ECOMOG in the execution of its mandate.

The installation of the Council of State last September pointed towards a final peaceful resolution of the Liberian crisis, and raised the hopes of Liberians, who believed that the process was now irreversible, he said. "The Liberian civil war is virtually over." The Council of State remained firmly committed to the terms of the Abuja Agreement, and would employ its best efforts to ensure that the peace process was not derailed. It considered the recent skirmishes in Tubmanburg and other areas of the country as unfortunate incidents which would not deprive the people of Liberia of the peace they had longed for for the past six years. Consultations had been held with the disaffected party in order to hear out its grievances and find acceptable, peaceful means to address them. The Council of State had also informed that party that the peace process would proceed according to the Abuja Agreement.

He expressed appreciation for the many sacrifices which ECOWAS member States continued to make for the restoration of peace in the country. His country was also grateful to the United Nations, its specialized agencies and Member States for the provision of humanitarian assistance in the form of food and medicines. Since 1990, ECOMOG had kept the peace in Liberia. It had to do so with the meagre resources of the troop-contributing countries. Over and again, appeals had been made to the international community to supplement ECOWAS in order to advance the peace process. "As the peace process is now at a critical juncture, we appeal to the international community to be more understanding and lend the necessary assistance for ECOMOG to carry out its mandate in pursuance of the Abuja Agreement", he said.

The ECOWAS had taken on an unprecedented task, he said. It had given concrete expression to the much-heralded talk about cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security. The international community had more to gain from ECOWAS' success in Liberia, if the necessary assistance was provided.

He emphasized that the Council of State had given its solemn pledge to the Liberian people that it would abide by the Abuja Agreement. It had also pledged its fullest support for the ECOWAS Peace Initiative and was awaiting the signing of the Status of Forces Agreement. While realizing that Liberians


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were ultimately responsible for restoring peace and democracy in their country, help was needed to jump start the process of disarmament and demobilization, social and economic rehabilitation, and the holding of national elections, which would return the country to civil administration under the rule of law. He supported the recommendation of the Secretary- General that UNOMIL's mandate be extended until 31 May 1996, and joined in his appeal for increased support to ECOMOG. For its part, the Council of State renewed its commitment to the full implementation of the Abuja Agreement.

MADELEINE K. ALBRIGHT (United States) said she had just returned from a trip to Africa, including Liberia. President Clinton had asked her to travel to Liberia to assess the situation there. She shared many of the views set forth in the Secretary-General's report. The peace process was indeed at a critical juncture, and the full support of all concerned would be required to overcome the recent set-backs. The Secretary-General's observations about maintaining the cease-fire, the need for more resources to help ECOMOG fulfil its responsibilities effectively, and the need to reintegrate ex-combatants into civilian society were central to finding a lasting peace in Liberia.

"I am both skeptical and hopeful about the prospects for peace in Liberia", she said. On the one hand, Liberia appeared to have hit rock- bottom. On the other, members of the Council of State seemed to be working well together and all claimed to be committed to peace. Yet, it was unclear whether their commitment would be sustained as disarmament begins and elections approach. It was also unclear whether each of the main warlords would be able to maintain control of his fighters. The conflict in Liberia was among the elite, not the people, she said. They were not fighting over ideology but over personal power. That created both risks and opportunities. The risks were that the drive for personal power, particularly among the extremists, could lead to further carnage and destruction with little interest in preserving or building society. The opportunities were that it was difficult to sustain a power struggle on personal ambition alone. "Ultimately, the people of Liberia want peace."

In meeting with the Council of State, she said, she stressed the importance of the Council's role in keeping the peace process on track so that ECOMOG deployment could recommence. She had said that, although the United States and the international community remained committed to helping Liberia, only Liberians could make the peace. She told them that the international community was losing its patience. The Abuja peace process, that took so long to negotiate, was now at a critical state of implementation. The moderates would have to perform better if they were to sustain the support of the international community.

The members of the Council of State offered many reasons for the delay in disarmament and demobilization. Everyone but themselves were to blame. Her message to them had been simple, "No more excuses". There could be no


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further delay in implementing the most important provisions of the Abuja Agreement, namely, those on disarmament and demobilization. As far as the United States was concerned, the word "delay" could no longer be part of the vocabulary of the Council of State. Otherwise, the fragile peace that did exist would collapse.

Overall, ECOMOG was performing well, she said. It seemed to be playing a neutral and constructive role now, in contrast with various times in the past. The ECOMOG deserved the Council's support, both for the important role it was now playing in Liberia and because it represented an important precedent in regional peace-keeping. However, the force structure of ECOMOG should be more diversified among member States of the region, if it was to constitute an authentic regional peace-keeping operation worthy of international support. It must also enter into a status of forces agreement with the Transitional Government.

The international community must provide the resources necessary to enable ECOMOG to fulfil its responsibilities effectively, she said. In recent years, the United States had provided $420 million in humanitarian assistance and $60 million in support of ECOMOG's peace-keeping activities. On 27 October, it pledged an additional $75 million to support peace, including $10 million to assist ECOMOG logistically. The vehicles ECOMOG desperately needed to facilitate disarmament and demobilization had begun to arrive under the $10 million pledge and her country hoped to provide a total of up to 100 vehicles in the near future. Nevertheless, the United States had no intention of allowing its logistical support to be squandered by a failure of political will by any side. The United States called upon other Member States to provide similar assistance as quickly as possible.

She cited the courageous work of the observers of UNOMIL. Their role was vital to the success of the Abuja Agreement. In addition to monitoring the disengagement and disarmament of the combatants and assisting in their demobilization, UNOMIL was expected to follow through urgently on its other responsibilities, including investigating and reporting on human rights abuses, any major violations of international humanitarian law, and on humanitarian assistance activities. There was some concern about criticism from the non-governmental organization community that UNOMIL was failing to meet these responsibilities.

She said she had delivered a blunt message to the Liberian leadership in Monrovia: the era of the child soldier in Liberia must come to an end immediately. It was an outrage by any standard that children under the age of fifteen and numbering between 4,000 and 6,000 were toting automatic weapons, slaughtering innocent civilians and ignoring the rule of law. They had no identity other than the weapons they carried. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) could play a key role in rehabilitating those abused children. The United States was ready to assist UNICEF and the people of Liberia to save


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those children.

Many United Nations relief agencies were actively assisting the people of Liberia, she said. All could be proud of their contribution in the face of adversity. Nevertheless, the international community needed to go one step further and consider how demobilized soldiers and other citizens could be put back to work rebuilding their infrastructure which, to put it bluntly, was trashed. The international community should have the technical assistance and other resources to help rehabilitate Liberia through technical and financial assistance for do-able, targeted, public works projects.

Implementation of the Abuja Agreement represented Liberia's best chance to achieve peace and justice, she said. The violence must end and the hatred must subside. Liberia's leaders must find the political will, and its people the political courage to succeed in building a new peaceful and prosperous Liberia.

TONO EITEL (Germany) said his Government was concerned at the lack of progress in the implementation of the Abuja Agreement. He was particularly concerned at the recent outbreak of fighting between ULIMO-J and ECOMOG troops in Liberia. He welcomed the fact, however, that the factions represented in the State Council seemed determined to adhere to the Agreement, and he urged them to exert control over their military forces to observe the cease-fire and to bring about the disengagement of troops.

He stressed that the cessation of hostilities between the warring factions and the restoration of security in Liberia was essential for any measures of reconstruction and development the international community might consider to help Liberia and its people to overcome the devastating consequences of the civil war. He emphasized ECOMOG's role in Liberia saying that the wider deployment of ECOMOG to several other regions of the country would be an important stabilizing factor for the country as a whole.

The work of ECOMOG in Liberia was an important example of a successful African peace-keeping mission, in which African countries had assumed a great share of responsibility for the re-establishment of peace and stability in one of the countries of their continent and, thus, for the stabilization of the region as a whole. The cooperation between ECOMOG and UNOMIL in Liberia demonstrated that cooperation and a "division of labour" between the United Nations and regional organizations was a feasible model. Germany supported the initiatives of the Secretary-General to develop coordination and cooperation with regional organizations. It also supported the continuing efforts of the OAU and the Africa States to strengthen their capacity in preventive diplomacy, conflict management peace-keeping.

He expressed his Government's support for the proposal to extend the mandate for UNOMIL for another four months. However, during that period, he


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said, the political will of the parties to achieve tangible progress and practical evidence of that progress would have to be monitored very carefully. If there was no visible progress soon with regard to maintaining the cease- fire, disengagement of troops and disarmament, Germany would have difficulties supporting a further extension of the mandate of UNOMIL.

QIN HUASUN (China) said the war in western Africa posed a threat to peace and stability in its neighbouring countries and the region as a whole. He expressed concern over the recent deterioration of the situation in Liberia.

He said the Liberian crisis was now at a critical moment. Although the international community and the countries concerned were doing their best for a resumption of a cease-fire among various parties in Liberia, it was only when the parties concerned gave up war and persisted in peaceful negotiations that there could be momentum towards peace. He urged the Liberian parties to cooperate with the United Nations and ECOWAS, strictly implement the Agreement already reached and the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and take effective measures to complete at an early date the disarmament and demobilization of combatants, so as to create conditions for the final realization of national reconciliation. The international community should also take concrete actions to support the efforts of ECOWAS and give full play to its role in that process.

He said his Government held that world peace and development could not be achieved without Africa's participation. A stable and developing Africa was conducive to world peace and prosperity. He hoped that the African people would strengthen unity and cooperation, overcome difficulties and, with the help of the international community and through their own efforts, resolve various disputes at an early date, thus, embarking on the road to national unity and economic development. His Government would work together with the international community to achieve a solution to the Liberian conflict.

PAOLO CASARDI (Italy) said that the last report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Liberia might be considered discouraging. There had been major violations of the cease-fire, taking a tragic toll on ECOMOG soldiers. Those developments, in turn, had prevented the complete deployment of both ECOMOG and UNOMIL and delayed the critical process of disarmament and demobilization. Despite those setbacks, the United Nations and the international community must remain committed to the Liberian peace process. In spite of all the negative circumstances, there was still an adequate degree of commitment in that country to attaining peace.

He said complete cooperation of the Liberian National Transitional Government and the Council of State with ECOMOG and UNOMIL was of paramount importance. Together, they could ensure that the Liberian factions fulfil their obligations and enable the start of an effective disengagement of


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forces, which, in turn, would allow the process of disarmament and demobilization to begin.

Availability of adequate financial resources for the peace process was critical, he continued. However, such support would also depend on the establishment throughout the country of a safe and secure environment. The international donor community was committed to helping the Liberian people in the field of humanitarian assistance. The European Union, both directly and through the bilateral aid of some of its member States, was among the major providers of relief assistance to the country. Steady progress in the peace process would greatly improve the capacity of the donor community to commit itself to the search for peace and stability in Liberia, a goal that could only be reached if the parties showed that they were truly "committed" to that objective.

D.C.M. NKGOWE (Botswana) said the efforts of the Chairman and Vice- Chairman of the Council of State in explaining the peace process to combatants with a view to preparing them for disarmament and demobilization was commendable. The peace process would endure and remain sustainable only if the people who actually had control over the instruments of war understood the need to disarm and demobilize. All the members of the LNTG should contribute to that noble task by ensuring that those loyal to them received the same message. The provision of assistance to ex-combatants should be improved and promote their reintegration into civilian life. The Liberian political leaders and parties should do all in their power to create a climate conducive to the delivery of such assistance.

It was commendable that ECOWAS had decided to deploy troops in the most critical areas of Liberia in an effort to maintain the momentum of the peace process, he said. The tragic events of 28 December 1995 highlighted the difficulties and realities with which ECOMOG had to contend. He condemned the senseless attack on ECOMOG and deeply regretted the loss of life. The Security Council should call upon all factions to respect the cease-fire and direct their energies to the restoration of peace and stability in Liberia.

The Secretary-General's report indicated that implementation of the Abuja Agreement was behind schedule and that the entire peace process was in serious danger of being completely derailed, he said. The international community should not allow that situation to continue with impunity. The ECOMOG needed financial and logistic support on an urgent basis. It was most regrettable that five months after the singing of the Abuja Peace Agreement, ECOMOG had not yet been given the necessary resources. The international community must live up to its responsibilities in the maintenance of peace and security. Conflict situations in Africa should be treated like conflicts elsewhere, and Liberia was a test case. The relationship between the United Nations and regional and subregional arrangements in peace-keeping operations should be reviewed, so that the Organization might assist the peace-keeping


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missions of regional bodies.

He said the Council should not lose sight of the crucial role that the holding of legislative and presidential elections could play in establishing a legitimate and representative government in Liberia, which could contribute to the maintenance of peace and stability. He welcomed the Secretary-General's intention to send a technical mission to liberia to consult with the transitional Government, the OAU and ECOWAS on matters concerning the electoral process.

It was generally agreed that the people of any given conflict situation bore the ultimate responsibility for the attainment of peace and national reconciliation, he said. Nevertheless, the Council could not ignore attempts by a few armed men to frustrate the will of the majority. The international community should assist the people of Liberia in whatever way possible to liberate themselves form the clutches of those few armed men and not blame or abandon them. He supported the Secretary-General's recommendation to extend the mandate of UNOMIL for a period of four months, until 31 May 1996 and hoped that, during that period, substantial progress would be made on implementation of the peace process and that elections would be held as scheduled. He also hoped that the international community would be generous in rendering assistance to ECOMOG, which shouldered the greater responsibility in implementation of the Abuja Peace Agreement.

SOLIMAN AWAAD (Egypt) expressed regret at the delays in implementing the Abuja Agreement, which jeopardized the holding of elections as planned. Egypt also regretted the attacks on ECOMOG and extended condolences to the families of the victims. It was important to provide an opportunity for the reintegration into civil life of those soldiers who were demobilized. The international community must attach special importance to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of State facilities, in order to promote job opportunities. There must be full disarmament of the factions, and pressure must be brought to bear to ensure compliance with the agreed time schedule.

The civil war in Liberia had claimed 150,000 victims and displaced more than half of the country's population, he said. All possible assistance must be provided to the governing council and to the new Government once the elections were completed. The experience of ECOWAS in Liberia provided a good model for the role to be played by regional organizations in settling regional conflicts. The United Nations was directly responsible for making that experience a success.

The spread of weaponry was the major threat jeopardizing stability in Liberia and the neighbouring countries, he said. What Liberia needed was not more weaponry but humanitarian, technical and financial assistance. Egypt supported the Secretary-General's proposal for the extension of UNOMIL's mandate.


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ALAIN DEJAMMET (France) said the agreement which provided for the cease- fire and establishment of the Council of State also established a tight timetable for elections. From the outset, it was clear that it would be difficult to adhere to that schedule. The disarmament and demobilization process was at the heart of the peace process. Collection areas were being identified, and the United Nations and ECOMOG had been assured of the full cooperation of the newly established Council of State.

Technical delays in implementation of the peace process were understandable, he said. However, the entrenched reluctance of some parties to live up to their agreements was unpardonable. ParticularLy deplorable was the incident last December which cost the lives of 16 members of the ECOMOG force. The United Nations involvement in Liberia was conditional upon the will of the parties to restore peace there. It was inadmissible that obstacles were being placed in the way of humanitarian convoys within that country.

France was prepared to support the extension of Liberia's mandate for an additional four months, he said. It would continue to provide assistance to Liberia, so that it might shortly embark upon the road to peace and democracy. It was hoped that the Liberians would do everything in their power to close one of the most dismal pages in their national history.

GERARDO MARTINEZ BLANCO (Honduras) said that, despite encouraging progress, recent developments in Liberia gave rise to doubt about the political will of the parties to fulfil the commitments undertaken in the Abuja Agreement. Those new developments threatened the peace process in Liberia. Sub-factions were capable of resuming the struggle, while new factions could appear on the scene or demand that they be included in the process. The elections planned for August represented a serious challenge. It was still possible that a faction which did not support the results of the elections might take up arms again.

Success in implementing the Abuja Agreement represented perhaps the last chance for Liberia to attain lasting peace, he said. It was important for the faction leaders to show that they were fully prepared to support the process. The international community could not be expected to support the peace process indefinitely in the absence of political will from the parties themselves. All parties must abide by the cease-fire, withdraw from the checkpoints, allow the provision of humanitarian assistance, and cooperate with ECOMOG and UNOMIL in the process of disarmament and demobilization. Honduras would support the four-month extension of Liberia's mandate.

PARK SOO GIL (Republic of Korea) said that, given the critical stage of the situation in Liberia, the continued attention of the international community was more necessary now than ever before. In some ways, the Liberian operation, together with the ongoing United Nations-Commonwealth of


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Independent States collaboration in Georgia, could be regarded as a test case for the capability of regional countries and regional organizations to deal with their problems. The success of ECOMOG's involvement in close coordination with UNOMIL would set an example to be emulated elsewhere. In that regard, ECOMOG and UNOMIL deserved every encouragement and support from the international community. He expressed concern at the further setback of the disarmament process caused by the Tubmanburg incident last December. That incident, however, must not be allowed to derail the peace process envisaged in the Abuja Agreement. He urged all factions, particularly ULIMO-J, to honour their commitments to the peace process and not to engage in any activities which might disrupt it.

He said the issue of disarmament and demobilization lay at the heart of the difficult situation in Liberia. He emphasized the importance of the faction leaders' role in ensuring the cooperation of their soldiers with ECOMOG and UNOMIL in that process. Without the successful disarmament and demobilization of the estimated 60,000 combatants, peace could not prevail. Cooperation of the LNTG was also essential to the peace process. The peace- keeping operation and humanitarian assistance in Liberia should enjoy full cooperation and coordination with the Transitional Government. He underlined the LNTG's responsibility to ensure the complete freedom of movement of those personnel.

He welcomed the Secretary-General's intention to appoint a senior electoral officer and noted with satisfaction that the United Nations Humanitarian Assistance Coordination Office had become fully operational in discharging its responsibility for the coordination of humanitarian assistance, as well as for the reintegration aspects of demobilization. He was also pleased that the Transitional Government and the UNHCR had concluded an agreement establishing the framework for the repatriation and reintegration of refugees and hoped that the voluntary return of refugees currently taking place in northern Liberia represented a growing trend. He welcomed the special consultation meeting of the LNTG and its international partners next March to address Liberia's recovery and reconstruction process. It was time for all Liberian factions to renew their commitments to the peace process by adhering to the established timetable leading to the elections seven months from now.

He recalled the recent statement of Charles Taylor, one of the faction leaders: "I started it, and now I don't know how to stop it." The answer to that statement was simple. All the concerned factions must abide by and implement the commitments they had freely agreed to in Abuja last summer.

MAKARIM WIBISONO (Indonesia) said his budding optimism that the six-year civil war in Liberia was nearing its end had been tempered by the Secretary- General's report. He regretted the tragic conflict in Tubmanburg and the ensuing casualties. The detrimental implications of that incident could not


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be underestimated. That event and other serious cease-fire violations and skirmishes had not only caused further delays in the implementation of the Abuja Agreement, but were clear indication of the necessity to further encourage confidence-building measures between the factions. He called upon the Liberian leadership to demonstrate political will to get the peace process back on track and discard the logic of war in resolving their differences. The international community could not support the peace process in Liberia indefinitely in the absence of a clear determination on the part of the factions to bide by and implement the commitments they themselves had concluded.

He said a secure peace would continue to provide elusive without the implementation of the detailed disarmament and demobilization plan. Success, however, depended on the opportunities of the ex-combatants to reintegrate into civilian life; successful reintegration required a revitalized economy which could only be achieved within a safe and secure environment. Such an environment could only be attained through a successful process of disarmament. It was imperative for the international community to step up its efforts in providing the necessary resources in order to avert the spread of the conflict. He stressed the need to focus on preventive diplomacy and peacemaking.

It was paramount that efforts be undertaken to address the economic deprivation that often provided the catalyst for resorting to violence, he said. He repeated the Secretary-General's call to the LNTG to provide its full support and enlist the support of the Liberian factions to assist in that critical endeavour. While the recent record in Liberia had provide ample opportunity for disappointment, there was hope on the horizon. That hope was based on preparations for the legislative and presidential elections scheduled for August; an agreement between the Transitional Government and the UNHCR establishing the framework for the repatriation and reintegration of refugees; continued cooperation between UNOMIL and the LNTG, as well as with other United Nations agencies and local and international non-governmental organizations to facilitate support for the Liberian judicial system and human rights groups; and a coordinated effort on the part of the international community to address reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts.

He concurred with the recommendation to extend the mandate of UNOMIL for a period of four months, until 31 May. While continued violations of the cease-fire agreement and the slow progress made in the implementation of the Abuja Agreement were disappointing, this should not foreshadow the progress that had been made. A withdrawal now would send the wrong signal to the parties regarding the international community's resolve and would undermine the confidence in ECOMOG. This was not the time to withdraw support, when it was needed most.

ZBIGNIEW M. WLOSOWICZ (Poland) expressed concern at the violation of the


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cease-fire agreement in Liberia. The Tubmanburg incident, which cost 16 ECOMOG members their lives, was the most serious violation of the Abuja Agreement. Regrettably, it was followed by other cease-fire violations, as well as assaults on ECOMOG centres and personnel. The Tubmanburg event contributed to the escalation of tensions throughout the country. It undermined the confidence between the political and the armed groups. The increased military threat caused a significant delay in the planned deployment of ECOMOG and UNOMIL. It also negatively affected the humanitarian situation of the population. In addition, the confidence of the international community in the lasting character of the peace process in Liberia was seriously weakened.

He said Poland welcomed the activities undertaken by the Transitional Government, the Chairman of ECOWAS and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Liberia in response to the incident, and aimed at ensuring the prompt release of civilians, as well as of detained ECOMOG soldiers. It was sincerely hoped that those activities would alleviate the situation in the region and have a positive influence on the overall situation in Liberia.

He said his country attached great importance to the existing political dialogue, the weight of which could hardly be overestimated. The voluntary repatriation of refugees to Liberia was also a significant factor, providing a positive impulse towards the recultivation of abandoned land. Poland also welcomed the last phase of consultations concerning the programme of disarmament and demobilization of combatants.

The present moment seemed to be crucial for the future of the peace process in Liberia, he said. The fate of their country was contingent upon their maturity and responsibility of the political parties. He stressed the importance of continuing action on the part of regional organizations, such as ECOWAS and the OAU, both of which were already deeply involved in the peace process. The capacity of ECOMOG to fulfil its important mission depended on material and logistical support from the international community.

SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) said it was a matter of concern that there had been serious setbacks in the peace process in Liberia. He condemned the armed attacks which had led to casualties among the peace-keepers and expressed condolences to their families. Such attacks threatened the entire course of the peace process. It was unacceptable to allege that such attacks were justified because the international community had not provided sufficient funds for the peace process.

He called on all Liberian parties to cooperate fully with ECOMOG and UNOMIL and to fulfil the obligations which they undertake voluntarily under the Abuja Agreement. Russia supported the four-month extension of UNOMIL's mandate and looked forward to the expected interim report. The Liberian


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parties should be aware that the patience of the international community was not unlimited. The parties must demonstrate their political will to normalize the situation in the country.

ADELINO MANO QUETA (Guinea-Bissau) said his country was deeply concerned about the slow implementation of the peace process in Liberia. Guinea-Bissau had welcomed the signing of the Abuja Agreement and the establishment of the Council of State, and it urged respect for that Agreement and for the cease- fire. It deplored the loss of life in the recent attack on ECOMOG. The political will of all the parties concerned was a requirement for the successful settlement of the conflict.

He urgently appealed to the international community to abide by its promise of assistance to Liberia. The crucial problem of refugees and displaced persons deserved the particular attention of the international community. His country housed a large number of such persons, with a significant impact on its economy. Guinea-Bissau supported without reservation the Secretary-General's recommendation to extend UNOMIL's mandate for an additional four months.

JUAN SOMAVIA (Chile) said his country attached enormous importance to the process of peace and reconstruction in Liberia. Efforts to restore peace in that country had demonstrate the complementarity that could exist between regional, national and international efforts to address a conflict situation. As progress was being made towards the holding of elections in August, the acts of violence of the past month were particularly regrettable. Without displays of genuine political will to work for the success of the peace process, the international community would be less than enthusiastic in its support.

He emphasized the efforts which had been under way to facilitate the return of the 750,000 Liberian refugees. Chile paid tribute to the efforts of ECOMOG, which must have an agreement on the status of its forces, in order to strengthen its security and enable its complete deployment. Expressing support for the extension of UNOMIL's mandate, he said one last effort was required by the United Nations, in order to consolidate the advances which had been made towards peace and to attain the desired result.

He appealed to the leaders of the various actors to place the interests of the people above their own political or factional interests, howsoever legitimate those might be.

Sir JOHN WESTON (United Kingdom), Council President, speaking as the representative of his country, expressed concern about the cease-fire violations and, particularly, at the serious fighting in Tubmanburg at the end of last month. It was outrageous that peace-keeping forces should be subject to attack. The ECOMOG was right not to deploy further until the factions


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could provide concrete guarantees for the safety of its personnel.

The human rights violations in Liberia were deeply worrying, he said. The use of civilians as human shields was totally unacceptable. The United Kingdom would be grateful for any information from the Secretariat on the situation of civilians trapped between ECOMOG and ULIMO-J forces outside Kle.

He said it was the responsibility of the Council of State to ensure adherence to the terms of the Abuja Agreement. There was a danger that the Tubmanburg and similar incidents, as well as ULIMO-J inter-factional fighting, would cause the Abuja Agreement to unravel country-wide. In that respect, disarmament and demobilization procedures were crucial. It was hoped that UNOMIL and ECOMOG could start that process as soon as possible. The onus was on the Council of State and the leaders of all the factions to ensure the cooperation of all parties.

He recognized that the Abuja timetable might well slip. In this context, an extension of UNOMIL's mandate to 31 May was necessary. However, all in Liberia must understand that the continued commitment of the international community depended on the willingness of the factions to observe the cease-fire, disengage, disarm and demobilize. They must make concrete progress towards peace.

He also drew attention to the scale of arrears built up in UNOMIL, as well as in peace-keeping generally. If peace-keeping operations were to fulfil their mandates, they must receive the necessary funding in full and on time.

KEBA BIRANE CISSE (Senegal) said the Secretary-General's report confirmed the precariousness of the situation in Liberia and underscored the need to control the military aspects of the situation. He appealed to the international community to provide ECOMOG with the material and logistical resources necessary for its deployment throughout the country. The success of international efforts to bring peace largely depended on the capacity of its main military components to carry out the tasks entrusted to them.

He said the incident of Tubmanburg had made clear the need for full cooperation of the leaders. The agreement to clarify the status of ECOMOG in Liberia could constitute a first step. In that connection, cooperation between ECOMOG and UNOMIL was essential to peace.

He supported the Secretary-General's intention to send a technical mission to Liberia to assist in the electoral process. He also welcomed the remarkable work of local and foreign humanitarian organizations in their efforts to alleviate the suffering of the people and help rebuild the country. He drew attention to the fact that refugees were beginning to return to their villages in areas close to the border.


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He said security conditions must be created for the implementation of the Abuja Agreement. That required full cooperation of the Liberian leaders and constituted an essential condition to pursuing the peace process. He welcomed the steps announced by the Liberian Foreign Minister.

MOMODOU KEBBA JALLOW (Gambia) said the commitment of the United Nations to Liberia and its rehabilitation process struck a deep chord of gratitude. It was also gratifying that the situation in Liberia was beginning, once again, to improve. Despite the recent setbacks, the Abuja Agreement was generally holding. That was an encouraging sign, which called for renewed and redoubled assistance. There was a need to maintain the presence of UNOMIL and to provide increased resources for reconstruction.

The organs needed to implement the Abuja Agreement were in place and were functioning, he said. Humanitarian activities continued to be carried out in Liberia. There were ongoing efforts to stem the violations of the Agreement. The Gambia called on the recalcitrant warlords to reaffirm their commitment to the peace process and to the elections to be held this year. His country supported the four-month extension of UNOMIL, as well as its full deployment. In addition, the international community should reconsider and increase its support to ECOMOG.

GEORGE O. LAMPTEY (Ghana) said the importance of an early solution to the Liberian problem had been underscored by the launching of the pledging conference on Liberia last October. All speakers had underlined the urgent need for financial and logistic assistance to ECOMOG and to Liberia. He regretted, however, that not only were the pledges slow to be redeemed but the amounts offered were grossly inadequate and did not reflect the expressed sentiments of the international community to see the end of the Liberian conflict. He recalled that the Head of State of Ghana had stated that the international community was willing to spend $5 million a day on United Nations peace-keeping operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but when asked for a sum that represented 10 to 15 days of that bill to help Liberia, there was deafening silence.

He said ECOMOG troop contributors and ECOWAS member countries were determined to pursue peace in Liberia, even at great cost to their tottering national economies. Their need for logistic and financial contributions to ECOMOG continued to be paramount. The international community, represented by the Security Council, had yet to show enough interest in Liberia, which compared to the situation in other zones of conflict, did not demand too much for successful resolution. The reluctance to provide material assistance was beginning to reflect negatively on the peace process. The lack of resources meant that ECOMOG had not been able to deploy troops all over the country as quickly as desired. The disarmament and demobilization of combatants remained behind schedule, and the skirmishes between some factions of ECOMOG had led to casualties on all sides and among the civilian population, a situation which


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was within the reach of the international community to halt.

He urged that today's meeting be used as another step by the international community to seek concrete assistance for ECOMOG and the Liberian people. In that part of the world, the effective maintenance of international peace and security was within reach. "We cannot afford to fail", he said.

MAHAWA BANGOURA CAMARA (Guinea) said her country's vulnerability to the spill-over effects of the conflict in Liberia was clear. Guinea was an active participant in ECOMOG and had sheltered more than 600,000 Liberian refugees. The meeting at Conakry had also demonstrated her country's commitment to the peace process. The line of demarcation between respect for and violation of the Abuja Agreement had become very tenuous. While the desire of all factions to implement the Agreement should be welcomed, the financial and logistical support of the international community was necessary to prevent incidents such as that which occurred at Tubmanburg.

The parties must give their full cooperation to ECOWAS and UNOMIL in implementation of the Abuja Agreement, with the aim of holding elections in August, she said. International support must be provided for ECOMOG to enable it to fulfil its duties. Investment in economic and social projects should be encouraged. Efforts in support of the humanitarian effort must be promoted, particularly in view of the many displaced persons who were currently facing death from starvation and disease.

NOLANA TA'AMA (Togo) said that, in reading the Secretary-General's report on Liberia, it appeared that the rock of Sisyphus had rolled down from the summit. However, the process of erasing the hatred of a war as horrible as that in Liberia was necessarily difficult. Cease-fire violations would be par for the course. The international community must not yield to the prevailing mood of "Afro-pessimism" and make of Liberia another orphan in the quest for peace.

He said that international efforts in Liberia should aim at encouraging the parties to respect the agreements into which they voluntarily entered. The Council of State bore full responsibility for maintaining the dynamics of the peace process and to bring about the conditions necessary for true national reconciliation.

The peace process was now at a turning point, he said. If the financial and logistical support were sufficient, the various players -- such as ECOMOG, UNOMIL and the non-governmental organizations -- would carry out their role. Togo would not be spared if its neighbour's house was burning. It therefore supported all efforts in support of peace and reconciliation.

ISSAC E. AYEWAH (Nigeria) said the Liberian peace process needed to be


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assisted to achieve peace, national reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction. Six years ago, Nigeria's efforts to bring peace to Liberia had culminated in the establishment of ECOMOG. The ECOMOG had blazed the trail for subregional endeavours in crisis management. Conflict resolution was conceived as a complement to the political and diplomatic efforts. Over the years, however, several accords aimed at resolving the Liberian crisis had failed to end the conflict. It was a matter of satisfaction for his Government to have successfully hosted the Abuja meeting which resulted in a breakthrough in the Liberian conflict. Today, there was a functioning government in Liberia and a cease-fire which was generally holding. He congratulated that Government for its efforts to establish its authority throughout the territory and to conduct the business of governance.

He was pleased to note that ECOMOG and UNOMIL did not see themselves in competition but in cooperation in Liberia. It was only when ECOMOG was enabled to fulfil its role and carry out its responsibilities that UNOMIL could have any impact in Liberia. Liberia deserved to have such a United Nations presence in its territory as it had requested. In that connection, he drew attention to the failure of the international community to deliver on its commitment to provide a force level of 160 military observers in that country.

He expressed concern about the continuing incidence of cease-fire violations and the slow pace of disarmament and demobilization. He was particularly distressed over the attack on ECOMOG in Tubmanburg and hoped that those responsible would be brought to justice expeditiously. A clear message must issue from the Security Council to the Liberian parties that they could not hold the peace process hostage to their personal whims or political ambitions. The countries of the subregion were straining to keep ECOMOG afloat and countries such as Nigeria, in spite of its domestic preoccupations were determined that ECOMOG must succeed. The ECOMOG had no partisan interest in Liberia. It would behoove the Liberian authorities to provide a secure environment for ECOMOG, UNOMIL, and the humanitarian organizations to carry out their respective mandates, particularly with regard to refugees and internally displaced persons.

In view of the arduous task of disarmament and demobilization, Nigeria had decided to increase its contingent in ECOMOG by two battalions aside form disbursing substantial funds for the procurement of communications and other vital equipment for the force. The capacity of ECOMOG, however, was constrained by inadequate logistic support. He reminded those countries that had offered support not to renege on their commitment. He hoped that countries would redeem their pledges of support to Liberia in addition to their contributions to the Liberian Trust Fund.

Concluding, he said the Security Council and the international community had a duty to stay the course in Liberia until peace was won.


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SLAHEDDINE ABDELLAH (Tunisia) said the signing of the Abuja Agreement on 19 August last year and the ensuing cease-fire were events of major importance for Liberia. They were achieved only after several years of sacrifice by a number of parties, including the members of ECOWAS and ECOMOG. Although there had been optimism that the Agreement would be implemented, such violent incidents as that which occurred at Tubmanburg had deflected that optimism. The risks taken by ECOMOG in deploying its troops without having the necessary resources had been demonstrated by the Tubmanburg incident. Without such resources, progress in the peace process would remain fragile.

He said Tunisia supported the good-offices efforts which were currently under way, and appealed to the Liberian parties to refrain from any action which might compromise implementation of the Abuja Agreement. Progress towards peace required, above all, respect for commitments which have been made regarding implementation of that Agreement. International assistance was necessary to enable the ECOMOG forces to efficiently carry out the tasks before them.

MULUGETA ETEFFFA (Ethiopia), speaking as a representative of the OAU, said that 50 year ago, Liberia was one of the three independent African countries with leaders who commanded respect at home and internationally. Today it hardly had a government. The situation was of utmost importance to African countries and to the OAU.

It had been quite some time since the plight of Liberians had captured the attention of the international community. He called for a response to the Liberian problems with financial resources and logistical arrangement for the peace-keepers as well as by extending the mandate of UNOMIL. It would be naive, he said, to expect that free and fair elections could take place without demobilization of combatants, or without extensive consultations. The exchange of prisoners should be effected as agreed and the delivery of humanitarian relief assistance should flow unhindered by any of the factions. The Transitional Government should be allowed to function until elections took place in August. Moreover, UNOMIL should be in a position to "observe and verify the election process, in consultation with OAU and ECOWAS, including the legislative and presidential elections to be held in accordance with the provisions of the peace agreement".

He said that unless the challenge posed by increased insecurity was met, it would not be practical to have elections in August. Disarmament and demobilization should be dealt with as priority items. All concerned should help the civilians who were displaced and trapped between ECOMOG and ULIMO-J forces as well as other civilians in similar situations. He supported the recent agreement between UNHCR and LNTG regarding the repatriation of Liberian refugees. He also supported the special consultation meeting of LNTG and its international partners in March to address the problems of recovery.


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The success of the peace process in Liberia also required greater commitment on the part of the international community, he said. He emphasized the need for ensuring adequate resources and logistical support for the operations of UNOMIL and ECOMOG. He also urged the international community to make generous contributions to the Trust Fund for Liberia. The OAU closely monitored the situation in Liberia and had committed itself to provide financial support to ECOMOG.

In spite of recent set-backs, the peace process in Liberia would succeed given the full support and cooperation of all concerned, he said. Ethiopia urged the faction leaders to ensure observance of the cease-fire and to cooperate fully with ECOMOG and UNOMIL. The cooperation and partnership existing between the United Nations, OAU and ECOWAS should be continued and enhanced until a lasting political solution to the Liberian problem was achieved.

KAREL KOVANDA (Czech Republic) said the interests of the Czech Republic were "specially affected" by the situation in Liberia inasmuch as the "employment of contingents" of the Czech armed forces was involved. In fact, the Czech Republic was the only European country that was participating in UNOMIL. His remarks would have been addressed to the troop-contributors meeting but he was grateful for the opportunity to put them on record.

The Secretary-General's report was alarming, he said. The Council had warned at different times when deciding on the UNOMIL mandate that if a significant improvement was not attained, that might be the last time the mandate would be extended. The fighting in Tubmanburg and the casualties suffered by ECOMOG did not constitute such an improvement.

He strongly condemned the attacks by ULIMO-J. Such outbreaks severely stretched the willingness of disinterested countries to continue assisting Liberia, he said. In light of those events, the Czech Republic had reflected on the future of UNOMIL and on the purpose of exposing its own participants to the attendant dangers. The conflagration caused by ULIMO-J, however, had not spread to other areas and there did not appear to be pandemic civil war erupting again. The important thing now was to intensify pressure on Liberia's factions to meet their commitments to provide security guarantees to ECOMOG and UNOMIL, to proceed with disarmament and demobilization. In turn, they would need concrete help as their members reintegrated into civilian life.

Upon careful consideration, he said, his Government had concluded that withdrawing support from UNOMIL, modest as it was, would be unfortunate. He supported the Secretary-General's recommendation that UNOMIL's mandate be extended by several months. In the case of future serious threats to the security of UNOMIL, ECOMOG or indeed the Liberian people, the Czech Republic would be prepared to re-evaluate continuing support for Liberia.


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DJENEBOU KABA (Cote d'Ivoire) said her country was actively involved in the efforts of the United Nations, OAU and ECOWAS for implementation of the Abuja Agreement. It was hoped that the international community would not abandon Liberia at the current critical juncture. She expressed her Government's condolences to the victims of the Tubmanburg incident and expressed gratitude to all those supporting the restoration of peace and stability in Liberia.

Sir JOHN (United Kingdom), Council President, said today's meeting had provided a useful exchange in a spirit of transparency. It had been enriched by the presence of the Foreign Minister of Liberia, by the report on the visit to Liberia by the representative of the United States, and by a wide airing of views by States not members of the Council.

All speakers had generally emphasized that the peace process in Liberia was now at a critical juncture and that the efforts of all concerned would be required if recent set-backs were to be overcome, he said. The complementarity between national, regional and international efforts was cited, as well as the need for continued support for ECOMOG. Some speakers emphasized the need for financial and logistic support for those efforts. It was also stated that the conflict in Liberia was among the elite and not among the people themselves.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:58 p.m.

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