Calling upon the Liberian factions to implement fully and expeditiously all their agreements and commitments, the Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL) for three months until 30 November. The mandate was due to expire today.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1071 (1996), the Council stressed that the continued support of the international community for the peace process in Liberia, including the participation of UNOMIL, was contingent on the Liberian factions demonstrating their commitment to resolve their differences peacefully and to achieve national reconciliation in accordance with the 17 August Abuja Agreement.
The Council welcomed the Agreement, adopted at the summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Abuja, Nigeria, which extended the 1995 Abuja Agreement until 1997, and established a timetable for its implementation. The summit also adopted a mechanism for verification of the Agreement's compliance by the faction leaders as well as a proposal for possible measures for non-compliance.
By the terms of today's resolution, the Secretary-General was to report to the Council by 15 October with proposals for assistance which UNOMIL or other United Nations agencies could provide in support of the Liberian peace process, including the election process, disarmament, demobilization and verification of compliance by the factions.
The Council decided to maintain UNOMIL deployments at an appropriate level as recommended by the Secretary-General and requested that he take into account the need to ensure the security of UNOMIL personnel and advise on any planned further deployments. The Secretary-General had recommended the deployment of an additional 24 military observers, as well as additional civilian personnel. Currently there are 10 military observers in Liberia.
By other terms of the text, the Council demanded once more that the factions and their leaders strictly respect the status of the personnel of the
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Economic Community of West African States' Monitoring Observer Group (ECOMOG), UNOMIL and international organizations and agencies, including humanitarian assistance workers. It further demanded that the factions facilitate the freedom of movement of UNOMIL and the delivery of humanitarian assistance and that they strictly abide by the relevant principles and rules of international humanitarian law.
The Council condemned all attacks against and intimidation of personnel of ECOMOG, UNOMIL and international organizations and agencies delivering humanitarian assistance as well as the looting of their equipment, supplies and personal property and called upon the faction leaders to ensure the immediate return of looted property. The Secretary-General was requested to include in his 15 October report information on how much of the stolen property had been returned. He was also requested to include details of the inhumane and abhorrent practice by some factions to recruit, train and deploy children for combat which the Council condemned.
The Council stressed the obligation of all States to comply strictly with and ensure strict implementation of the embargo on all deliveries of weapons and military equipment to Liberia imposed by its resolution 788 (1992). All violations of the embargo were to be brought before the Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 985 (1995) of 13 April 1995, which monitors its implementation.
Member States were urged to provide financial, logistical and other assistance in support of ECOMOG to assist it to carry out its mandate. They were also urged to contribute to the United Nations Trust Fund for Liberia.
Statements in the debate were made by the representatives of Italy, Egypt, Botswana, China, Indonesia, United Kingdom, Republic of Korea, Honduras, Russian Federation, Guinea-Bissau, Poland, Chile, United States, France and Germany. The representatives of Liberia and Nigeria also addressed the Council.
The meeting was called to order at 12 noon and adjourned at 1:41 p.m.
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Report of Secretary-General
As the Security Council met this afternoon it had before it a report of the Secretary-General (document S/1996/684) in which he recommends a three- month extension of the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL). Should the factions demonstrate their full commitment to the peace process, the Secretary-General says he would provide to the Council by mid-October recommendations on any enhanced United Nations role that may be needed to support the efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and create conditions conducive to peace, stability and national reconciliation in Liberia.
In the meantime, he intends to deploy to Liberia an additional 24 military observers, as well as additional essential civilian personnel in the fields of disarmament, elections, human rights and public information, as well as administration, to assist UNOMIL to respond to developments on the ground. Currently there are 10 military observers remaining in Liberia. Some 83 observers have been repatriated since the outbreak of hostilities and breakdown of the peace process on 6 April. Should the pace of implementation of the military provisions of the August 1996 Abuja Agreement necessitate a further increase in the military strength of UNOMIL, the Secretary-General says he would consider the deployment of some additional military observers, within the Mission's currently authorized strength of 160 and inform the Security Council accordingly in his mid-October report.
A new timetable for the implementation of the Abuja Agreement was adopted at an ECOWAS summit on 17 August preceded by discussions of ECOWAS Foreign Ministers. The timetable is contained in Annex I of the Secretary- General's report. It calls for the restoration of the cease-fire by 31 August, concluding with installation of a new government on 15 June 1997.
The Foreign Ministers recommended that the revised timetable be divided into five stages with a built-in monitoring mechanism to ensure its strict compliance. At every stage, ECOWAS would verify that the necessary steps had been implemented in accordance with the provisions of the Agreement and its timetable. Any person or group found responsible for obstructing the implementation of the Agreement would be subject to the imposition of sanctions by ECOWAS. Such sanctions would include, inter alia, restrictions on travel and imports and freezing of business activities and assets in the subregion. The Foreign Ministers also recommended that a code of conduct be established for members of the Council of State and transitional government.
The Foreign Ministers discussed the conditions to be met in order to hold free and fair elections, including, inter alia: an unequivocal agreement by those contesting the elections to respect their outcome; a fair electoral law, including the basis of representation; the creation of a level playing
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field to ensure that all parties would have fair and equal access to voters and that civil society would be able to publicize its views; an independent electoral commission; adequate post-election constitutional guarantees for protecting the interest of political minorities and a basic level of security to permit the fulfilment of these conditions.
In meetings held on 15 and 16 August, the faction leaders and Liberian civilian groups agreed to the decisions reached by the ECOWAS Foreign Ministers, as well as the need to appoint a new Chairperson of the Council of State. In their meeting on 17 August, the ECOWAS Heads of State endorsed the decisions taken by the Foreign Ministers and the designation of Ruth Perry, a former Senator from Grand Cape Mount county and a former member of the Transitional Legislative Assembly, as the new Chairperson of the Council of State. The ECOWAS Heads of State also agreed not to recognize any government that came to power in Liberia through the use of force. They called for the full enforcement of the arms embargo and decided that they would, if and when necessary, call on the United Nations Security Council to impose visa restrictions on recalcitrant faction leaders. They also endorsed the decision of the Foreign Ministers to seek the assistance of the United Nations in the organization of elections in Liberia.
The Secretary-General says the type of assistance expected has not yet been defined, although some have suggested that the United Nations should play an enhanced role in the organization and conduct of the elections. The holding of free and fair elections requires that a number of conditions are fulfilled. While these conditions were discussed at the ECOWAS summit, the modalities for their implementation are still to be worked out, according to the Secretary-General. Among other things, he says the electoral law must be reviewed, the basis of representation decided upon, and the question of the Electoral Commission addressed to ensure its full independence.
Under its present mandate, provided under resolution 1020 (1995) of 10 November 1995, UNOMIL is to observe and verify the election process, in consultation with the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and ECOWAS, including the legislative and presidential elections to be held in accordance with the provisions of the peace agreements. Any change in that mandate would only be considered on the basis of an official request defining the type of assistance sought from the organization. Such a change would have to be approved by the Security Council.
The cease-fire in Monrovia, which was re-established on 26 May with the deployment of ECOMOG throughout the city, is generally holding. Economic Community of West African States' Monitoring Observer Group (ECOMOG) reported that, by the end of May, between 70 and 80 per cent of the fighters of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) and Alhaji Kromah's wing of United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO) had withdrawn from the
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city. However, many of these fighters remain on the outskirts of the city and as many as 4,000 NPFL fighters have reportedly assembled at Kakata, some 55 kilometres north of Monrovia. The withdrawal of ULIMO-J and Liberian Peace Council (LPC) fighters from Monrovia was more difficult, as they argued that their strongholds in Tubmanburg, Todee, Kakata and Bong Mines, to which they were to withdraw, were insecure.
The ECOMOG has launched a cordon and search operation in and around Monrovia to collect the arms left behind by the factions upon their withdrawal from the city. The UNOMIL is verifying this process and is assisting ECOMOG to keep a systematic record of the weapons collected and in making arrangements for their storage.
Despite substantial improvement since restoration of the cease-fire in Monrovia, the security situation in the city remains a cause for concern, the Secretary-General states. Recent weeks have witnessed a new wave of violence in Monrovia, some of which may have been politically motivated. Given the limited means of evacuation from Monrovia and precarious security situation, UNOMIL maintained a restricted strength of international civilian personnel and military observers during the reporting period. However, in view of recent progress in the peace process, the Secretary-General says he intends to deploy to Liberia additional essential military and civilian personnel to assist UNOMIL to respond to developments on the ground. The Mission's security and evacuation plans will be adjusted accordingly to ensure that all personnel are able to operate in conditions of safety and security.
The Secretary-General says a total of 489 vehicles, valued at $8,313,342, were taken from UNOMIL, the United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations during the recent hostilities in Monrovia. Despite the assurances given by the faction leaders, only 11 vehicles have been recovered. The return of United Nations looted property also remains a concern of ECOMOG. Unfortunately, the factions have not cooperated with ECOMOG in its attempts to retrieve looted vehicles. During its recent meeting in Abuja, ECOWAS decided that the faction leaders should be held fully responsible for the looted vehicles and called on the leaders to return them to their rightful owners.
The Secretary-General expresses support for the renewed commitment of ECOWAS to restoring peace and a democratically elected government in Liberia and to remain engaged in the country until a new government is installed on 15 June 1997, in accordance with the revised timetable of the Abuja Agreement. The steps taken by ECOMOG to reinvigorate its presence and ensure its viability as an effective peace-keeping force represent another positive development in the Liberian peace process. The Secretary-General also says that those efforts could be compromised, however, if ECOMOG is not provided
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with additional manpower, as well as with adequate and dependable financial and logistic resources, necessary to carry out its tasks.
The Secretary-General notes that the Government of the United States has recently renewed its pledge of an additional $30 million in support for ECOMOG, part of which has already been committed. Further assistance is urgently required if the tight implementation schedule agreed upon by ECOWAS is to be adhered to. He urges potential donor countries to support ECOMOG and to provide concrete assistance for the peace-keeping force as soon as possible.
Noting the decision of the ECOWAS States to give Liberia's factions a last chance despite their frustration with the situation and the lack of cooperation, the Secretary-General urges the faction leaders to remember the precedent of Somalia. He hoped that they would seize the opportunity to restore peace in their country. "For if they do not, the international community may have no choice but to disengage from Liberia", he adds.
Text of Draft Resolution
The Council has before it a draft resolution (document S/1996/701*) the text of which reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Recalling all its previous resolutions concerning the situation in Liberia, in particular resolution 1059 (1996) of 31 May 1996,
"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General dated 22 August 1996 (S/1996/684) on the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL),
"Noting the letter of 21 August 1996 to the President of the Security Council containing the Final Communique of the Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) Committee of Nine of Liberia, held at Abuja on 17 August 1996 (S/1996/679),
"Welcoming the increasing restoration of Monrovia as a safe haven,
"Emphasizing once again that the people of Liberia and their leaders bear the ultimate responsibility for achieving peace and national reconciliation,
"Recognizing the positive role of ECOWAS in its efforts to restore peace, security and stability in Liberia,
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"Expressing its appreciation to those African States contributing troops to the ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG),
"Commending also those Member States that have supported the peace process, UNOMIL, and ECOMOG, including through contributions to the United Nations trust fund for Liberia,
"Stressing also that the continued presence of UNOMIL in Liberia is predicated on the presence of ECOMOG and its commitment to ensure the safety of UNOMIL and emphasizing the need for enhanced coordination between UNOMIL and ECOMOG,
"1. Welcomes the report of the Secretary-General dated 22 August 1996;
"2. Decides to extend the mandate of UNOMIL until 30 November 1996;
"3. Welcomes the agreement of ECOWAS in Abuja on 17 August 1996, which extended the 1995 Abuja agreement until 15 June 1997, established a timetable for implementation of the agreement, adopted a mechanism to verify compliance by the faction leaders with the agreement, and proposed possible measures against the factions in the event of noncompliance;
"4. Calls upon the Liberian factions to implement fully and expeditiously all the agreements and commitments they have entered into;
"5. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council by 15 October 1996 with proposals for assistance which UNOMIL or other United Nations agencies could provide in support of the Liberian peace process, including support for the election process, disarmament, demobilization, and verification of compliance by the factions;
"6. Further decides to maintain UNOMIL deployments at an appropriate level as recommended in the report of the Secretary-General and requests that the Secretary-General take into account the need to ensure the security of UNOMIL personnel and advise the Council of any planned further deployments;
"7. Stresses that the continued support of the international community for the peace process in Liberia, including the participation of UNOMIL, is contingent on the Liberian factions' demonstrating their commitment to resolve their differences peacefully and to achieve national reconciliation in accordance with the agreement reached in Abuja on 17 August 1996;
"8. Condemns all attacks against and intimidation of personnel of ECOMOG, UNOMIL, and the international organizations and agencies delivering humanitarian assistance as well as the looting of their equipment, supplies, and personal property, calls upon the leaders of the factions to ensure the
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immediate return of looted property, and requests the Secretary-General to include in the report referred to in paragraph 5 above information on how much of the stolen property has been returned;
"9. Condemns the practice of some factions of recruiting, training, and deploying children for combat, and requests the Secretary-General to include in the report referred to in paragraph 5 above details on this inhumane an abhorrent practice;
"10. Demands once more that the factions and their leaders strictly respect the status of the personnel of ECOMOG, UNOMIL and international organizations and agencies, including humanitarian assistance workers, and further demands that these factions facilitate the freedom of movement of UNOMIL and the delivery of humanitarian assistance and that they strictly abide by the relevant principles and rules of international humanitarian law;
"11. Stresses the importance of respect for human rights in Liberia and also the human rights aspect of UNOMIL's mandate;
"12. Stresses the obligation of all States to comply strictly with the embargo on all deliveries of weapons and military equipment to Liberia imposed by resolution 788 (1992) of 19 November 1992, to take all actions necessary to ensure strict implementation of the embargo, and to bring all instances of violations of the embargo before the Committee established pursuant to resolution 985 (1995) of 13 April 1995;
"13. Urges all States to provide financial, logistical and other assistance in support of ECOMOG to assist it to carry out its mandate;
"14. Urges all States to contribute to the United Nations trust fund for Liberia;
"15. Stresses the importance of close contacts and enhanced coordination between UNOMIL and ECOMOG in their operational activities at all levels and calls on ECOMOG, in accordance with the agreement regarding the respective roles and responsibilities of UNOMIL and ECOMOG in the implementation of the Cotonou agreement (S/26272) and with the UNOMIL concept of operations, to provide security for UNOMIL;
"16. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to keep the Security Council closely informed of the situation in Liberia;
"17. Decides to remain seized of the matter."
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WILLIAM BULL (Liberia) said the outbreak of hostilities in his country last April was a serious setback to the peace process. That there was renewed hope today in the continued progress and viability of the Abuja Accord was due to the commendable efforts of the leaders of the ECOWAS and other national, regional and international actors who had worked tirelessly over the past four months to prevent the country's slide into a state of anarchy. Since the signing of the revised Abuja Agreement which incorporated far-reaching decisions including a new timetable for encampment, disarmament and reintegration of combatants and the holding of democratic elections by 30 May 1997, the leaders of the warring factions had pledged anew their commitment to the implementation of the revised agreement.
The repeated failure of the warring factions to honour more than 12 previous agreements had raised reasonable doubts about their sincerity and commitment to those new undertakings, he continued. Nevertheless, the delegation of Liberia believed that several recent developments had increased the prospects for peaceful transition in Liberia. First, the Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) had adopted a resolution during their annual meeting held in Yaounde, 8-10 July, which threatened the faction leaders with punitive measures including imposition of sanctions against them and the possibility of establishing a war crimes tribunal for Liberia. That OAU resolve had been reinforced on the sub- regional level by the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS during their summits held in Abuja from 26-27 July and 17 August respectively.
The resumption of armed hostilities in April and the inability of any warring faction to overwhelm the other even with the non-intervention of the ECOMOG had clearly demonstrated that there cannot be any victor in the war, he said. The ECOWAS member States had taken concerted action on several important issues: the Abuja Agreement had been extended until 15 June 1997 and a new timetable formulated for its implementation. Other member States in the sub-region, Mali, Gambia, Burkina Faso and Cote d'Ivoire had decided to deploy troops or personnel to Liberia. Moreover, there was a new resolve by the ECOWAS countries, under the leadership of its current Chairman, President Sani Abacha of Nigeria, to remain fully engaged in the resolution of the Liberian conflict.
He said the re-emergence of civil society in the peace process reflected the resolve of the civilian majority to actively participate in decisions affecting them. It was civilian groups which had advocated a change in the chairmanship of the Council of State leading to the selection of Ruth Perry, former Senator of Grand Cape county and the first female, to assume the highest post in government since the country's independence 149 years ago. She was expected to be formally inaugurated in Monrovia on Tuesday, 3
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September. Those developments made his delegation confident that if internal and external pressures were maintained on the present leadership, the faction leaders would realize that it was in their best interest to implement, without further delay, the provisions of the Abuja Agreement.
It was well known, he said, that since the commencement of the civil crisis, the member States of ECOWAS had continued to make substantial sacrifices in pursuit of peace in Liberia. While the ECOWAS peace initiative had experienced some financial and administrative problems, it represented a pioneering effort to bring to fruition Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. That praiseworthy effort was deeply appreciated by the Liberian people and deserved greater support of the United Nations.
He re-emphasized the urgent need for the United Nations to ensure that there was a mechanism whereby sub-regional and regional peace-keeping operations undertaken with the approval of the Security Council received the requisite support. The ECOMOG must be fully supported. In keeping with recent decisions, ECOMOG had to be increased to 18,000 troops and an estimated $132 million was required to assist ECOMOG to fully implement its mandate. The lack of support from the international community following the signing of the Abuja Agreement in August 1995 prevented ECOMOG from deploying throughout the country in keeping with the timetable formulated by the parties. The tragic developments which ensued in Liberia as a result of that deficiency were well known to the international community. It was the hope of the Liberian people that those negative development would not be allowed to reoccur because of lack of support to ECOWAS.
There were urgent needs which must be quickly satisfied to advance the peace process in Liberia. Foremost was assistance to ECOMOG to facilitate its deployment throughout the country leading to the encampment, disarmament and demobilization of combatants and their reintegration into civil society. Concomitantly, Liberian refugees would have to be repatriated and resettled and pilot programmes undertaken to rehabilitate combatants. The army and paramilitary organizations would be reorganized and preparations for elections undertaken by a reconstituted and independent Elections Commission. It was imperative that the proposed elections be preceded by complete disarmament of combatants. He stressed the need for the electoral process to be internationally supervised and declared to be free and fair. Due to the adverse effects which the civil war had had on all Liberians, the people would not accept any leadership which attained political power by fraudulent means.
He appealed to all Member States to generously contribute to the Trust Fund for Liberia. He also appealed to governmental and non-governmental organizations to fully resume their activities in Liberia which he said were vital to addressing the humanitarian needs of the people and the revival of development activities in the country. His delegation endorsed the draft
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resolution on Liberia and joined in the appeal to member States to comply fully with the arms embargo on Liberia.
ISAAC E. AYEWAH (Nigeria) said that on 15 September 1995, the Security Council held a similar meeting welcoming the Abuja Agreement of 15 August 1995 on Liberia. There had been optimism that the six-year war was going to end. But the Council was meeting again today not to welcome a new government in Liberia according to the implementation plan, but to support the extension of the implementation schedule of the Abuja Accord by almost another year. The major responsibility for the delays lay with those who had signed an agreement to end the war in their country.
Fortunately, the representative went on, after intensive consultations with all parties concerned, the Committee of Nine of the ECOWAS, at its 17 August summit in Abuja, had come up with a new implementation schedule for the Abuja Agreement. But only the commitment to peace of the Liberian parties and faction leaders would ensure that the current schedule would hold. Based on experience, the new plan might usher peace since it provides for periodic reviews of progress in implementing the Agreement, a code of conduct for members of the Council of State and transition government, as well as a decision to impose sanctions against any party that did not comply with the plan.
But, he continued, the international community must help ensure strict adherence to the implementation plan and schedule. The ECOMOG must be well- equipped and its efforts to enhance its capability complemented with financial and logistical assistance. Timeliness was crucial since any long lull between a cease-fire and the demobilization of combatants could jeopardize the gains being made. The presence of the UNOMIL should be beefed up significantly and quickly. The Secretary-General should consider further increases in line with his own assessment of the situation.
Speaking on the draft resolution, the representative said he agreed with its general thrust, showing the international community's continued commitment to peace in Liberia. But expressions were not enough and, in that context, he noted the request to the Secretary-General in operative paragraph 5 to make concrete proposals to assist the peace process. Those proposals should consider ECOMOG's requirements.
FRANCESCO PAOLO FULCI (Italy) expressed hope that the faction leaders would show the political will to fully respect and implement the terms of the Abuja Agreement. Should they fail to do so, the international community would have to pull out. The Somalia precedent should make the faction leaders aware of what was expected of them. The theft of 900 vehicle belonging to ECOMOG and the United Nations agencies was not a positive sign. Stolen property must be returned. The international community would also hold the leaders
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personally responsible for breaches of human rights and humanitarian law in their country.
The warlords' practice of training and drugging children aged 7 to 14 to kill their relatives and terrorize their neighbourhoods was an unconscionable crime, he said. That heinous behaviour must be stopped immediately by every means available to the international community, including the creation of a special body, within the framework of the proposed international criminal court, to try the perpetrators of such acts.
MAGED ABDEL AZIZ (Egypt) said that the efforts of members of ECOWAS to restore peace in Liberia deserved support and encouragement from the international community. The ECOMOG should be provided with further support by the international community in the form of technical and financial assistance.
The elections to be held in Liberia next May should be kept to schedule, he said. The factional leaders should set up an independent national committee similar to one created in Sierra Leone to ensure a smooth transition to democracy. Even after the elections, there would be other tasks that the country would have to undertake, including demobilization and reconstructing. The international community should stand by Liberia during that period to help it consolidate peace.
MOTHUSI NKGOWE (Botswana) said the recent summit meeting of the ECOWAS was an important milestone in the search for peace in Liberia. Its outcome reflected the resolve among the States of the subregion to help Liberians find a permanent political solution to the crisis which had bedeviled their country for far too long. Botswana commended ECOWAS member States for the monumental work they had done to give Liberia yet another chance to settle its political problems even after several of such chances had in the past been squandered by the faction leaders. Botswana particularly welcomed the decision of the heads of State of ECOWAS to impose measures on those leaders who obstructed the peace process. The active participation of organizations of civil society at the Abuja Summit was an important development in articulating the voices of the disenfranchised people of Liberia. It was time the faction leaders paid close attention to their hopes.
He said the revised schedule for the implementation of the Abuja Peace Agreement demonstrated the determination of ECOWAS to the peace process in Liberia. Significant adjustments had been made to the mandate of the ECOMOG to enable the subregional peace-keeping force to meet any challenges and obstacles it might encounter in the implementation of the revised schedule. Several States of the subregion had also stated their readiness to contribute additional troops to strengthen the operational capacity of ECOMOG. The ECOWAS had thus responded to the suggestions made by some members of the
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international community; it was only fair that the international community responded appropriately to the needs of ECOMOG.
He also said the humanitarian situation in Liberia required the continued attention of the international community. The Council should demand that the faction leaders strictly respect the status of personnel of the humanitarian organizations. "The wanton looting of the equipment belonging to the United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations had dealt a severe blow to the work of the humanitarian community." That was an intolerable pattern of behaviour which the Security Council could not condone.
Botswana fully supported the extension of UNOMIL's mandate for a further three months, he said. The States of the subregion deserved the strong support of the United Nations. The United Nations had an immeasurable contribution to make in the implementation of the Abuja Peace Agreement. The Council should make it very clear to the faction leaders that the international community would not allow a few people to hold a whole nation hostage to their desire to rule at all cost. The faction leaders must not be allowed to frustrate the efforts of the international community to resolve the political crisis in Liberia. They must not be allowed to realize their objective to force the United Nations out of Liberia. It must be made clear to them that they would be held personally accountable for violations of international humanitarian law and human rights.
QIN HUASUN (China) said that his country had consistently supported regional organizations' efforts to resolve problems in their respective regions. The international community should support ECOMOG to successfully fulfil its mission. The ECOMOG and UNOMIL should cooperate closely to help implement the new timetable.
The representative said that the final settlement of the conflict depended on the Liberian people and leaders giving up the use of force and seeking a political solution acceptable to all parties through patient and sincere negotiations and dialogue. The parties should seize the present opportunity of the extension of UNOMIL's mandate to complete their disarmament and prepare for general elections to achieve national reconciliation and restore peace through fair elections. China would work with the international community to help Liberia achieve peace.
NUGROHO WISNUMURTI (Indonesia) said his country was hopeful that the outcome of the ECOWAS summit in Abuja would lead to a durable peace in Liberia with the new timetable serving as a formal framework for the peace process. He commended the strong regional leadership role of ECOWAS and its determination to ensure that the parties respected the agreement they themselves had entered into. It was also encouraged by the growing influence
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of Liberian civilian groups in the peace process, reflecting the aspirations of the Liberian people to end the ongoing tragedy.
He said Indonesia was concerned about the lack of security, the persistent violations of basic human rights, and the continuing inflow of arms. The disarming and demobilization of Liberia's militia members was essential in establishing a durable cease-fire and permitting international peace-keepers to operate to their full potential. The Council must urge all States to comply strictly with the embargo on all deliveries of weapons and military equipment to Liberia in accordance with resolution 788 (1992).
Touching on the humanitarian situation, he said his delegation was concerned that relief workers were still seriously being impeded from delivering assistance to certain regions and that their safety was still threatened. He said no comprehensive humanitarian assistance could be constructed to meet the needs of Liberia. More than half of Liberia's population continued to dwell in neighbouring countries as refugees. Conditions had to be created to promote their return and the reconstruction of their country. Another aspect of the conflict which had to be kept in mind was how to reintegrate a generation of young Liberians who had known nothing but war for the past six years.
Indonesia believed that ECOMOG and UNOMIL could play a considerable role in contributing to the implementation of the Abuja Agreement and enhance its chances of moving forward. It also believed that the United Nations had a role to play, and supported the recommendation of the Secretary-General to increase the number of military observers and civilian personnel to assist UNOMIL in carrying out its mandate.
STEPHEN GOMERSALL (United Kingdom) said his delegation would vote in favour of the text. The recent reports of the Secretary-General and his Special Envoy confirmed that the agreement reached by the ECOWAS Committee of Nine at Abuja on 17 August was a significant development which might at last offer real hope for the suffering people of Liberia. But it remained the case, as the resolution made clear, that the key lay in the response or otherwise of the faction leaders who had publicly committed themselves to the agreement. They must now disengage, disarm and demonstrate their willingness to reach a peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict.
For far too long, he said, the Council had been given clear demonstrations of the disdain of the faction leaders for the help of the international community and for the interests of the people of their own country. Agreement after agreement had been torn up; cease-fires violated; innocent civilians killed; children forced into combat; the country's infrastructure laid to waste -- and all to satisfy the egos and thirst for power of a group of ruthless warlords. Time and again, the Council had heard
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renewed commitments to peace from such people. "It would be easy to take a cynical approach and call it a day." But it was greatly to the credit of the leaders of ECOWAS that they had not given up. Indeed they had become more determined to bring peace to that part of their region. The Council owed it to them to give them its support. The United Kingdom commended and endorsed the agreement reached in Abuja last month.
He said the faction leaders must take heed of the resolution. They must be under no illusion. "This is the last chance for Liberia to resolve its problems with United Nations assistance." It was vital that the factions cease their intimidation and attacks against United Nations, ECOMOG and other international personnel, end looting and return all stolen property. Without that small sign of goodwill, the international community could not be expected to contribute to the rehabilitation of the country and to provide humanitarian relief.
The United Kingdom welcomed the readiness of ECOWAS to provide additional peace-keepers to the ECOMOG forces. The ECOMOG in its reinforced composition was doing a difficult job well. The United Kingdom was considering a further contribution to the Liberia Trust Fund. It also intended to help with police training once stability had been established, and urged other States to provide additional logistical support.
He said the revised timetable for the implementation of the Abuja Agreement gave the faction leaders clear signposts towards a peaceful settlement of the conflict leading to elections next year. Early disarmament was a vital part of the plan. The faction leaders themselves had accepted the timetable. The three-month extension of UNOMIL's mandate would test their will.
PARK SOO GIL (Republic of Korea) said that the international community should watch the faction leaders to see if they abided by their commitments faithfully. The final outcome of the peace process would depend on whether free and fair elections were held on 30 May 1997. Great importance should be attached to the full independence of the electoral commission and to a substantial enough disarmament that would allow the free participation of the Liberian people. In that regard, the growing influence of Liberia's civil society was encouraging.
If disarmament was to be significant, it should be backed by the strict enforcement of the arms embargo imposed on Liberia by resolution 788 (1992), he continued. The United Nations should play a significant part in the organization and the holding of the elections to help ensure the impartiality and independence of the electoral commission. The Council should consider the request for assistance by ECOWAS and the Liberian parties. The Secretariat should study the best way to enhance the role of the United Nations in
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supporting the efforts of ECOWAS and to create conditions conducive to peace and national reconciliation.
He expressed support for the extension of the UNOMIL mandate and the deployment of more military observers within the Mission's currently authorized strength as developments warranted.
GERARDO MARTINEZ BLANCO (Honduras) expressed regret at the absence of the political will among the Liberian leaders to live by their Abuja commitments and to maintain cease-fires. He welcomed the provisions in the new implementation schedule, such as the creation of a code of conduct, that would help ensure compliance with the Abuja Agreement and implementation plan. The Liberian parties should live up to their new commitments in order to ensure that the elections would be held freely and fairly on schedule. They should show the will to resolve their differences peacefully. He welcomed the improvement of the security situation in some parts of the country and the fact that the cease-fire was holding in Monrovia. It was deplorable that the status of the personnel of missions and agencies were not respected. He agreed with the proposal to increase the size of UNOMIL as well as the efforts of ECOMOG to strengthen its force, even though the latter lacked resources it needed.
YURIY V. FEDOTOV (Russian Federation) said his delegation was satisfied with the current positive developments in Liberia. It recognized the complexities of the tasks ahead given the past actions of the factions. The ECOWAS had shown consistency in implementing its decisions. The ECOMOG, its monitoring group, should be supported to carry out its tasks, he said.
He also noted that ultimately the responsibility for restoration of peace in Liberia rested with the factions. If they did not meet that task, the international community would have no choice but to end its involvement in the country. The Russian Federation would support the proposed draft which stipulated the obligations of the factions and gave impetus to the peace process.
ALFREDO LOPES CABRAL (Guinea-Bissau) said the international community should provide assistance to ECOMOG to allow it to meet its responsibilities, particularly in helping to establish peace and security as stipulated in the Abuja Agreement. He thanked the United States and other countries for their financial assistance to ECOMOG, and urged other States to follow suit. It was clear that the international community should continue to support the country if the Liberian factions agreed to resolve their differences peacefully.
He stressed the importance for the Liberian factions to strictly abide by their commitments under the Abuja Agreement. He also said looting of property of international organizations should stop immediately and stolen
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equipment should be returned. The faction leaders must protect children, which they had been using as cannon fodder -- a disgusting practice, he added. Guinea-Bissau supported the Secretary-General's recommendations to extend UNOMIL's mandate.
ZBIGNIEW MATUSZEWSKI (Poland) said he would vote for the draft resolution extending the mandate of UNOMIL to express confidence in and support for the ECOWAS leaders' decisions in Abuja. The Liberian warlords should not follow the well-known pattern of breaking their word. They should let their country resolve its problems politically, not violently.
The representative said that Liberians had to take the main task of rebuilding their country, ensuring peace and stability as well as respecting human rights. Liberia needed international help and, in that regard, its people and leaders should create and maintain an assistance-friendly environment. They should respect the status of the personnel of ECOMOG, UNOMIL and international organizations in order to ensure the delivery of humanitarian goods. The Liberian leaders should live up to their agreement in Abuja and abide by the implementation timetable. He expressed gratitude to the representative of Italy for suggesting the draft text's paragraph condemning the practice of using children to fight, kill and murder.
LEONEL SEARLE (Chile) said he attached great importance to the establishment of a monitoring mechanism that would ensure the parties' compliance with the Abuja Agreement and the inclusion of measures that could be taken against those who obstructed the implementation of the schedule towards elections. Efforts should be made to ensure the continued growth in the influence of civil society in Liberia in order to help the peace process. It was time to warn the factions that the international community's patience was not unlimited. The looting of property, the threats to civilians and international agencies, as well as the use of children in combat would not be tolerated. The implementation schedule agreed to in Abuja should be followed in order to allow the people of Liberia to continue their progress towards peace, reconciliation and development.
Action on Draft Resolution
The Security Council unanimously adopted the draft text as resolution 1071 (1996)
Speaking after the vote, KARL F. INDERFURTH (United States) said during the past seven years, the factions in Liberia had conducted a bloody, destructive civil war that had cost the lives of many thousands of innocent Liberians and robbed the country of its wealth and resources. Only a few months ago, Monrovia was in flames. Political and ethnic factions were engaged in street-to-street fighting. Looting of humanitarian and peace- keeping resources was widespread. One especially abhorrent practice of the tragic conflict -- singled out for special condemnation in the Council's resolution -- had been the recruitment, training and actual deployment of children in combat. Who could forget the photographs of child soldiers brandishing assault weapons -- and using them? he asked. The Council was determined that the practice should not continue.
He said the regional leaders, meeting in Abuja in mid-August, had shared
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the frustration of the rest of the international community and had taken a bold step. They had agreed to reinvigorate their 1995 agreement, including a new timetable for implementation and the threat of sanctions for persons or groups which obstructed progress.
The Liberian faction leaders appeared to have accepted the new timetable. Their initial statements and actions offered hope that progress towards peace and stability was possible in the coming months. The ECOMOG had successfully re-established and maintained Monrovia as a safe haven. The ULIMO-J, one of the factions, had delivered stolen heavy weapons. A new ECOMOG commander had taken steps that would make the peace-keeping force more effective. Ruth Sando Perry had been named new Chairperson of the Council of State. The United States wished her well in her daunting task of national mediation and unification.
Yet, he continued, the recent history of Liberia was littered with broken promises and lost opportunities for peace. It was important that the faction leaders realized the world was more concerned with their deeds than with their words. The United States would be monitoring closely their actions under the 17 August agreement. It was only on the basis of honest implementation of the new timetable that the United States was able to support the Secretary-General's call for increased deployments of UNOMIL. Those deployments were justified, wise and ultimately secure only if the peace process remained on track. The United States would follow events closely and calibrate its actions to coincide with progress towards implementation of the Abuja Agreement.
He said the Liberian factions bore a clear, unavoidable responsibility to respect the status of UNOMIL personnel and property, as well as those of ECOMOG and other international and humanitarian organizations and agencies. The United States expected the faction leaders to take steps to return immediately all looted property. More broadly, the ECOWAS States and the wider international community must insist on compliance and do everything necessary to ensure implementation by the parties. He stressed the importance of close contacts and enhanced cooperation between UNOMIL and ECOMOG.
HERVE LADSOUS (France) said his country condemned the looting of United Nations equipment and those of other international organizations and called
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for their return. He paid tribute to the peace efforts of leaders of the sub- region. The sanctions proposed by them against any faction leader for non- compliance with the Abuja Agreement was an important safeguard for the peace process. Another failure would be tragic.
He also said France had consistently supported the peace process and would continue to do so. It approved the Secretary-General's recommendations for the extension of UNOMIL's mandate for three months.
The Council President, TONO EITEL (Germany), speaking as the representative of his country, said the civil war in Liberia had been a matter of deep concern for all since 1990. Thirteen peace agreements had been concluded by the warring factions and broken later on. The responsibility for disrupting the peace process solely lay with the leaders of the various factions who had shown no regard for the rights and lives of their people. Following the ECOWAS summit of 17 August in Abuja there was new hope that the peace process could be resumed successfully in Liberia. The ECOWAS States had decided to give the factions one last chance. The committee of the nine heads of State and Government had agreed on a strict timetable for the implementation of the Abuja Agreement, commencing with the restoration of the cease-fire by 31 August and concluding with the holding of free and fair elections on 30 May 1997.
Built into the timetable was a monitoring mechanism to ensure the compliance with the Abuja Agreement. The committee of nine had also agreed that any person or group obstructing the implementation of the agreement would be subject to the imposition of sanctions. The ECOWAS had underlined its commitment to remain engaged in Liberia until the new government was installed.
He said the extension of the UNOMIL mandate and the deployment of an additional 24 military observers was a first appropriate response of the United Nations to the new developments in Liberia. Germany agreed that ECOMOG had to be provided with adequate financial and logistic resources to carry out its tasks. It also believed that future assistance would have to be more closely coordinated than in the past.
He said the missions of ECOMOG and UNOMIL could only be continued in a meaningful way if conditions in Liberia allowed them to fulfil their mandates. He therefore strongly urged the warring parties to seize the opportunity which might be their very last. International humanitarian assistance was also necessary to sustain the peace process. After the recent fighting in April and May, Germany had provided humanitarian aid and medicine, worth about 600,000 DM.
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