Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Security Council this afternoon decided to ban the sale or supply to Sierra Leone of petroleum and petroleum products and arms and related matériel of all types, including weapons and munition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment and spare parts for those items.
By its unanimous adoption of resolution 1132 (1997), the Council decided that all States shall prevent the sale or supply of such items by their nationals or from their territories, or using their flag vessels or aircraft. It demanded that the military junta in Sierra Leone take immediate steps to relinquish power and make way for the restoration of the democratically elected Government and a return to constitutional order.
The Council also decided that all States shall prevent the entry into or transit through their territories of members of the military junta and adult members of their families, except when authorized for humanitarian purposes or purposes consistent with its demand on the junta, by a monitoring committee also established by today's action.
The Council further decided that if the restrictions set out in the resolution were not terminated within 180 days as a result of accession by the junta to its demand, it would conduct a thorough review of the application of those measures, as well as any steps the junta had taken in compliance.
Acting under Chapter VIII of the Charter, the Committee also authorized the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in cooperation with the democratically elected Government, to ensure strict implementation of the provisions of the resolution relating to the supply of petroleum or petroleum products or arms and related matériel, including where necessary, by halting inward maritime shipping to inspect and verify their cargoes and destinations. The Council called on all States to cooperate with ECOWAS in that regard and urged them to provide it with technical and logistical support.
The Committee also asked ECOWAS to report, every 30 days, to the Committee under the resolution to monitor implementation of the sanctions and promulgate guidelines to facilitate their implementation. Among its tasks, that Committee is also to designate expeditiously members of the military junta and adult members of their families whose travel is to be restricted.
Security Council - 1a - Press Release SC/6425 3822nd Meeting (AM) 8 October 1997
Acting on a case-by-case basis and under a "no objection" procedure, the Committee is empowered to authorize applications by the democratically elected Government of Sierra Leone to import petroleum products. It may also authorize such applications by any other government or by United Nations agencies for verified humanitarian purposes, or for the needs of the forces of the Military Observer Group of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOMOG). The Committee will also seek from all States further information on their actions to implement the sanctions. It will consider information brought to its attention by States concerning violations of those measures and report periodically to the Council, recommending appropriate measures in response. It will also consider and decide expeditiously on permitted requests for the import of petroleum and petroleum products.
The Council requested that the Secretary-General submit an initial report to it within 15 days, and thereafter every 60 days from the date of the resolution, on the junta's compliance with its demand, as well as on the humanitarian situation in Sierra Leone. The Council expressed its intention to terminate the measures when the junta complies with its demand.
In addition, the Council requested that States report to the Secretary- General within 30 days on the steps they had taken to give effect to the resolution. The Secretary-General was encouraged to assist the search for a peaceful resolution of the crisis and to work for a resumption of the discussions with all the parties.
The Council requested all those concerned to establish appropriate arrangements for the provision of humanitarian assistance and to endeavour to ensure that such assistance responded to local needs and was safely delivered to, and used by, its intended recipient. It also urged all States, international organizations and financial institutions to assist States in the region to address the economic and social consequences of the influx of refugees from Sierra Leone.
Addressing the Council, the representative of Sierra Leone, James O.C. Jonah, said he considered its action today as a response to the appeal by his President for the world community to come to Sierra Leone's aid. He was concerned, however, about the extent to which the junta would take the action seriously. It was hoped that all Sierra Leoneans would work together to return stability to the country and that the Council would not allow the junta to frustrate the will of the people or to defy the international community.
Statements were also made by the representatives of Nigeria, Kenya, France, United Kingdom, Poland, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Sweden, Japan, Egypt, Portugal, China, Guinea-Bissau, United States and Chile. The Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica also spoke.
The meeting, which was called to order at 12 noon, was adjourned at 12:50 p.m.
Council Work Programme
The Security Council met this morning to consider the situation in Sierra Leone.
The Council will examine a letter, dated 7 October, from Secretary- General Kofi Annan addressed to the President of the Council (document S/1997/776) in which he assesses the current situation in Sierra Leone.
He states that since November 1994, when the then Head of State of Sierra Leone requested the good offices of the Secretary-General, the United Nations had worked closely with regional governments and organizations for the restoration of democratic rule, the holding of elections, the conclusion of a peace accord and efforts to move from peacemaking to peace-building.
The Council, the Secretary-General recalls, had issued a number of presidential statements, but its efforts were derailed by the illegal coup of 25 May. The Council, the Summit of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Commonwealth and others had strongly condemned the coup and had called for an immediate restoration of order.
The Secretary-General points out in his report that ECOWAS has taken the lead in trying to bring about the return of the democratically elected Government of Sierra Leone. Their efforts, however, had been met with a series of stalling and diversionary actions and the junta showed no signs of wanting to relinquish power. Rather, the junta appeared to be planning for a prolonged stay in power. In the meantime, the people of Sierra Leone were bearing the brunt of the situation.
Efforts for the peaceful resolution of the situation and for the junta to stand down deserve the Council's support and that of the international community at large, the Secretary-General declares. The sanctions imposed by ECOWAS and the corresponding support requested by the Council were measures to promote a peaceful resolution of the situation.
"At stake", the Secretary-General concludes, "is a great issue of principle, namely, that the efforts of the international community for democratic governance, grounded in the rule of law and respect for human rights, shall not be thwarted through illegal coups".
Also before the Council are its statements of 27 May (document S/PRST/29), 11 July (document S/PRST/36) and 6 August (document S/1997/42) by which the Council called for immediate and unconditional restoration of the democratically elected Government of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and the implementation of the Abijan Peace Agreement. Also in the statement of 6
Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6425 3822nd Meeting (AM) 8 October 1997
August, the Council condemned the overthrow of the Government, called on the military junta to renounce its declared intention to remain in power and stated that in the absence of a satisfactory response from the junta, it would be ready "to take appropriate measures with the objective of restoring the democratically elected Government of President Kabbah". The Council also called on the junta to resume negotiations with the ECOWAS Committee of Foreign Ministers without delay.
The Council has before it the text of a draft resolution, prepared during the course of prior consultations. The text reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Recalling the statements of its President of 27 May 1997 (S/PRST/1997/29), 11 July 1997 (S/PRST/1997/36), and 6 August 1997 (S/PRST/1997/42) condemning the military coup in Sierra Leone,
"Taking note of the decision of the thirty-third summit of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) held in Harare, Zimbabwe, from 2 to 4 June 1997 concerning the situation in Sierra Leone,
"Taking note also of the Communique issued at the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Sierra Leone, held in Conakry, Guinea, on 26 June 1997 (S/1997/499), the Declaration of the ECOWAS Committee of Four Foreign Ministers on Sierra Leone (the ECOWAS Committee) of 30 July 1997 (S/1997/646), and the final Communique of the summit of ECOWAS held at Abuja on 28 and 29 August 1997 and the Decision on sanctions against the military junta in Sierra Leone issued at the summit (S/1997/695, Annexes I and II),
"Taking note also of the Secretary-General's letter of 7 October 1997 (S/1997/776),
"Expressing its full support and appreciation for the mediation efforts of the ECOWAS Committee,
"Reaffirming its view that the Abidjan Agreement (S/1996/1034) continues to serve as a viable framework for peace, stability and reconciliation in Sierra Leone,
"Deploring the fact that the military junta has not taken steps to allow the restoration of the democratically elected Government and a return to constitutional order,
Security Council - 4 - Press Release SC/6425 3822nd Meeting (AM) 8 October 1997
"Gravely concerned at the continued violence and loss of life in Sierra Leone following the military coup of 25 May 1997, the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in that country, and the consequences for neighbouring countries,
"Determining that the situation in Sierra Leone constitutes a threat to international peace and security in the region,
"Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
"1. Demands that the military junta take immediate steps to relinquish power in Sierra Leone and make way for the restoration of the democratically elected Government and a return to constitutional order;
"2. Reiterates its call upon the junta to end all acts of violence and to cease all interference with the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the people of Sierra Leone;
"3. Expresses its strong support for the efforts of the ECOWAS Committee to resolve the crisis in Sierra Leone and encourages it to continue to work for the peaceful restoration of the constitutional order, including through the resumption of negotiations;
"4. Encourages the Secretary-General, through his Special Envoy, in cooperation with the ECOWAS Committee, to assist the search for a peaceful resolution of the crisis and, to that end, to work for a resumption of discussions with all parties to the crisis;
"5. Decides that all States shall prevent the entry into or transit through their territories of members of the military junta and adult members of their families, as designated in accordance with paragraph 10 (f) below, provided that the entry into or transit through a particular State of any such person may be authorized by the Committee established by paragraph 10 below for verified humanitarian purposes or purposes consistent with paragraph 1 above, and provided that nothing in this paragraph shall oblige a State to refuse entry into its territory to its own nationals;
"6. Decides that all States shall prevent the sale or supply to Sierra Leone, by their nationals or from their territories, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, or petroleum and petroleum products and arms and related matériel of all types, including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment and spare parts for the aforementioned, whether or not originating in their territory;
"7. Decides that the Committee established by paragraph 10 below may authorize, on a case-by-case basis under a no-objection procedure:
Security Council - 5 - Press Release SC/6425 3822nd Meeting (AM) 8 October 1997
"(a) applications by the democratically elected Government of Sierra Leone for the importation into Sierra Leone of petroleum or petroleum products; and
"(b) applications by any other government or by United Nations Agencies for the importation of petroleum or petroleum products into Sierra Leone for verified humanitarian purposes, or for the needs of the Military Observer Group of ECOWAS (ECOMOG), subject to acceptable arrangements for effective monitoring of delivery;
"8. Acting also under Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations, authorizes ECOWAS, cooperating with the democratically elected Government of Sierra Leone, to ensure strict implementation of the provisions of this resolution relating to the supply of petroleum and petroleum products, and arms and related matériel of all types, including, where necessary and in conformity with applicable international standards, by halting inward maritime shipping in order to inspect and verify their cargoes and destinations, and calls upon all States to cooperate with ECOWAS in this regard;
"9. Requests ECOWAS to report every 30 days to the Committee established under paragraph 10 below on all activities undertaken pursuant to paragraph 8 above;
"10. Decides to establish, in accordance with rule 28 of its provisional rules of procedure, a Committee of the Security Council consisting of all the members of the Council, to undertake the following tasks and to report on its work to the Council with its observations and recommendations:
"(a) to seek from all States further information regarding the action taken by them with a view to implementing effectively the measures imposed by paragraphs 5 and 6 above;
"(b) to consider information brought to its attention by States concerning violations of the measures imposed by paragraphs 5 and 6 above and to recommend appropriate measures in response thereto;
"(c) to make periodic reports to the Security Council on information submitted to it regarding alleged violations of the measures imposed by paragraphs 5 and 6 above, identifying where possible persons or entities, including vessels, reported to be engaged in such violations;
"(d) to promulgate such guidelines as may be necessary to facilitate the implementation of the measures imposed by paragraphs 5 and 6 above;
Security Council - 6 - Press Release SC/6425 3822nd Meeting (AM) 8 October 1997
"(e) to consider and decide expeditiously requests for the approval of imports of petroleum and petroleum products in accordance with paragraph 7 above;
"(f) to designate expeditiously members of the military junta and adult members of their families whose entry or transit is to be prevented in accordance with paragraph 5 above;
"(g) to examine the reports submitted pursuant to paragraphs 9 above and 13 below;
"(h) to establish liaison with the ECOWAS Committee on the implementation of the measures imposed by paragraphs 5 and 6 above;
"11. Calls upon all States and all international and regional organizations to act strictly in conformity with this resolution, notwithstanding the existence of any rights granted or obligations conferred or imposed by any international agreement or of any contract entered into or any licence or permit granted prior to the entry into force of the provisions set out in paragraphs 5 and 6 above;
"12. Requests the Secretary-General to provide all necessary assistance to the Committee established by paragraph 10 above and to make the necessary arrangements in the Secretariat for this purpose;
"13. Requests States to report to the Secretary-General within 30 days of the date of adoption of this resolution on the steps they have taken to give effect to the provisions set out in paragraphs 5 and 6 above;
"14. Requests all those concerned, including ECOWAS, the United Nations and other international humanitarian agencies, to establish appropriate arrangements for the provision of humanitarian assistance and to endeavour to ensure that such assistance responds to local needs and is safely delivered to, and used by, its intended recipients;
"15. Urges all States, international organizations and financial institutions to assist States in the region to address the economic and social consequences of the influx of refugees from Sierra Leone;
"16. Requests the Secretary-General to submit an initial report to the Council within 15 days of the adoption of this resolution on compliance with paragraph 1 above, and thereafter every 60 days after the date of adoption of this resolution on its implementation and on the humanitarian situation in Sierra Leone;
Security Council - 7 - Press Release SC/6425 3822nd Meeting (AM) 8 October 1997
"17. Decides, if the measures set out in paragraphs 5 and 6 above have not been terminated in accordance with paragraph 19 below, to conduct, 180 days after the adoption of this resolution and on the basis of the most recent report of the Secretary-General, a thorough review of the application of these measures and of any steps taken by the military junta to comply with paragraph 1 above;
"18. Urges all States to provide technical and logistical support to assist ECOWAS to carry out its responsibilities in the implementation of this resolution;
"19. Expresses its intention to terminate the measures set out in paragraphs 5 and 6 above when the demand in paragraph 1 above has been complied with;
"20. Decides to remain seized of the matter."
JAMES O.C. JONAH (Sierra Leone) said his countrymen understood and appreciated that the United Kingdom was their loyal friend in their hour of crisis. Sierra Leoneans considered today's Council meeting a response to the appeal of President Kabbah in his recent statement to the General Assembly that the world community come to Sierra Leone's aid. The draft resolution before the Council far exceeded expectations.
He expressed concern about the extent to which the junta would take the draft resolution seriously. The junta members had come under the influence of politicians and elder statesmen who had misled them. They had been told that the Council would not call for the restoration of the legitimate Government. His principle concern was that the junta should respect the demands of the Council.
He said that over four months had been wasted talking to the military junta, which had shown no inclination to ensuring a peaceful restoration of the legitimate Government. The draft resolution would demonstrate that the world community was serious. He hoped that the draft resolution and the talks that might start soon would begin a new era and that the day would come when all Sierra Leoneans would work together to return stability to Sierra Leone. He hoped the Council would not allow the junta to frustrate the will of the people or to defy the world community.
IBRAHIM A. GAMBARI (Nigeria) said the initial round of talks between ECOWAS and the junta aimed at peaceful resolution of the crisis had been encouraging. However, the negotiations had fallen through due to deliberate
Security Council - 8 - Press Release SC/6425 3822nd Meeting (AM) 8 October 1997
stalling and bad faith on the part of the junta. The regime had also announced its intention to remain in power for four years.
The decisions and actions of ECOWAS to resolve the crisis in Sierra Leone had been guided by the fact that it posed a clear threat to international peace and security. Also, the subregion wished to avoid another costly and long, drawn-out engagement and the humanitarian problems which would result. Although ECOWAS was sufficiently seized of the matter, the support and endorsement of the United Nations was needed. Nigeria welcomed the inclusion in today's resolution of an enabling authorization from the Council which would assist the Economic Community of West African States' Monitoring Observer Group (ECOMOG) in carrying out its tasks mandated by ECOWAS. He appealed to the international community to assist ECOMOG in carrying out its tasks by providing logistical assistance and vital information.
He called on the junta to return to negotiations and show a commitment to the peaceful resolution of the crisis. Although ECOWAS had wanted additional and stronger measures included in the draft text of the resolution, the members of ECOWAS regarded the resolution as a positive development and believed that what was important was the message of international resolve to restore constitutional order in Sierra Leone. The resolution of the Council would adequately convey that unambiguous message.
NJUGUNA M. MAHUGU (Kenya) said his country had joined the rest of Africa and the international community in unequivocally condemning the illegal military junta which had deposed the democratically elected Government of Sierra Leone in May. The ECOWAS, through its Committee of Five, was trying to negotiate a way for the illegal junta to peacefully relinquish power. While the coup leaders had said they wanted to talk, they had instead sought to buy time in order to consolidate their illegal grip on power.
The Council's action today would be a useful tool for ECOWAS as it continued its mediation efforts, he continued. He called for support of the regional initiative. The ECOWAS could not assist in the faithful implementation of today's Security Council decision without solid financial help from the international community.
The international community was reaffirming its commitment to democracy with its imposition of sanctions on the illegal junta, he said. The sanctions were focused and took into account the humanitarian consideration of the innocent civilians of Sierra Leone. Kenya would vote in favour of the resolution.
ALAIN DEJAMMET (France) said he would vote in favour of the draft resolution before the Council which called for the peaceful restoration of
Security Council - 9 - Press Release SC/6425 3822nd Meeting (AM) 8 October 1997
constitutional order and the return of the democratically elected Government. Regional initiatives were part of the efforts of the international community to ensure a peaceful solution based on law and the observance of human rights. ECOWAS would continue to negotiate with the members of the junta in an attempt to find a peaceful solution to the crisis. The sanctions imposed by the members of ECOWAS should be considered measures designed to promote a peaceful solution to the crisis, but not worsen the situation of the people of Sierra Leone. It was important that a dialogue be established with regard to the items that would be exempted.
He said today's draft resolution had the same goal as regional efforts to restore peace and to limit effects on the people. Exemptions were provided for, particularly for humanitarian reasons. The draft also reflected the trust between the United Nations and the members of ECOWAS, as was established in the past experience of cooperation in Liberia between the two organizations.
He hoped that democracy would soon be restored and that the sanctions would soon be lifted. The provisions of the resolution made it possible to reach the goal of avoiding an indefinite extension of the sanctions. Periodic review by the Council would be the best way to accomplish that.
He expressed concern at the effect of the crisis on neighbouring States for which the influx of refugees was causing serious economic problems. The United Nations should give support to those States. He expected that future reports from the Secretary-General would explain how the appeal to the international community to help the neighbouring States would be responded to.
Sir JOHN WESTON (United Kingdom) said his Government had assisted with past efforts to support democracy in Sierra Leone, including actively participating in the elections which had brought the democratic government to office. His Government, along with the international community, had been appalled by the coup in May. The international community could not afford to accept the arbitrary overthrow of a democraticall elected Government. The commitment of ECOWAS to negotiate a peaceful solution to the crisis unfortunately had been thwarted by the junta's lack of good faith. By establishing an international arms and oil embargo and by setting visa restrictions, the Security Council would clearly reiterate its commitment to restoring the democratic Government in Sierra Leone.
ZBIGNIEW MATUSZEWSKI (Poland) said that due to the intransigent position of the military junta, the situation in Sierra Leone had further deteriorated. Poland believed that the measures which had been recommended by ECOWAS and which the Council would adopt today were appropriate for the objective of an expeditious resolution of the democratically elected Government.
Security Council - 10 - Press Release SC/6425 3822nd Meeting (AM) 8 October 1997
Poland supported the sanctions to be introduced in response to the request of African States, he said. However, it remained aware of the potential risks related to the use of sanctions, particularly that the humanitarian situation could be worsened. The sanctions regime must therefore include humanitarian exemptions with regard to petroleum and petroleum products, subject to effective monitoring.
Poland attached utmost importance to the comprehensive arms embargo, he said. The strong message sent to the military junta was that it must comply with the demands of the international community and relinquish power. The resolution authorized ECOWAS to ensure strict implementation of the Council's decision by providing for enforcement measures. Poland would vote in favour of the resolution.
PARK SOO GIL (Republic of Korea) said his Government condemned the military coup in Sierra Leone. It was concerned about the future of the country in which the United Nations had invested heavily to help bring about peace and democracy. The coup had had a destabilizing effect on the whole region by reversing a new wave of democracy which was spreading across the African continent.
He said that the time had come for the international community to take a more resolute action against the coup forces. He welcomed regional initiatives to bring maximum pressure to bear on the junta. It was essential that an unequivocal signal be sent to the junta that the entire international community stood firmly against them. Imposing sanctions was an inevitable choice. Once authorized by the Council, the sanctions should be implemented in an effective manner.
The door to negotiation should remain open and he expected that ECOWAS would continue to coordinate closely with the legitimate Government of Sierra Leone and the Council towards that end. He reminded the junta that in the interest of peace and democracy, they should agree immediately to the restoration of the legitimate Government.
SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) said his Government supported strengthening cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations. However, enforcement measures should not be taken by regional organizations without Security Council authorization. The adoption of the resolution today would show the international community's intention to support ECOWAS. The powerful means of pressure being applied, meaning the embargo, had been fine tuned and had been targeted in order to minimize unintended negative impacts. However, the Russian Federation was concerned that the resolution did not establish a clear timetable for the application of sanctions. The point of sanctions was not to punish the party which had imperiled international peace and security, but to change its behaviour. To
Security Council - 11 - Press Release SC/6425 3822nd Meeting (AM) 8 October 1997
accommodate the request of Africa and noting the review of sanctions application called for in the resolution, he said his Government, in this case, would support the resolution.
RODRIGO CARRERAS, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica, said the resolution was not the result of improvisation, but a clear demonstration of a commitment by the international community to restore democracy to Sierra Leone. The adoption of intelligent sanctions allowed for placing pressure on the junta while avoiding worsening the humanitarian situation. The Sanctions Committee had been given extra tools to ensure the application of the regime. At the same time the international community must provide to the civilians suffering in Sierra Leone. Costa Rica supported the actions of the Department of Humanitarian Affairs, along with countries and regional organizations, to establish machinery to deliver humanitarian assistance. Costa Rica would support the resolution's adoption.
HANS DAHLGREN (Sweden) said his Government strongly supported regional efforts, notably by ECOWAS, to peacefully restore democratic order in Sierra Leone. Efforts taken jointly by the United Nations and ECOWAS would greatly enhance the possibility of achieving their common aim: that the military junta relinquish power and make way for the restoration of the democratically elected Government of Sierra Leone.
By voting for the draft resolution, Sweden wanted to contribute to a solution by peaceful means, without the use of violence, he said. His Government did not take the use of sanctions lightly. In dealing with economic sanctions, care must be taken to prevent innocent civilians from suffering twice -- first under the unlawful regime, and then under international sanctions. The Council must always be guided by humanitarian considerations.
HISASHI OWADA (Japan) said that due to the past actions of the junta, the Council was obliged to address the situation by taking concrete measures as provided for in the resolution. The purpose was not to punish the junta but to have them heed the calls of the Security Council. While the sanctions restricting the sale of petroleum could cause further hardship for the people of Sierra Leone, the resolution addressed that matter by requesting that appropriate exceptions be made for humanitarian reasons. Also, it called upon ECOWAS to make arrangements for delivery of humanitarian assistance. Japan believed that the contents of the resolution were appropriate and would support it.
NABIL EL-ARABY (Egypt) said the military coup had set the clock backwards, but African countries had adopted a firm position vis-a-vis that coup and had rejected it. They had demanded that the international community take immediate measures to restore the democratically-elected government.
Security Council - 12 - Press Release SC/6425 3822nd Meeting (AM) 8 October 1997
That unanimous decision was a momentous turning point in Africa's history. The approach had started with dialogue and the application of pressure on the leaders of the coup to return to constitutional order. The efforts of the African countries should be supported by the international community.
He hoped the junta members understood the seriousness of the international community. He had supported the idea of a time frame for the imposition of the sanctions and he hoped the Council would review comprehensively the sanctions regimes. The ECOWAS countries would seriously consider the exemptions to the sanctions. Egypt fully supported the call to all States to ensure strict implementation of the measures contained in the draft and he hoped there would be an international response to that appeal.
JOSE TADEU SOARES (Portugal) said he supported the objectives of the draft resolution, which sought to resist the illegal coup d'état in Sierra Leone and bring about, by peaceful means, the restoration of democratic rule, constitutional order and respect for human rights. The ECOWAS had been authorized to ensure the strict implementation of the provisions of the draft.
He said that an important aspect of the draft was the need to establish appropriate measures for the provision of humanitarian assistance and to ensure its safe delivery to the population for whom it was intended. He expressed concern about the plight of the refugees and internally displaced persons. The United Nations and others must ensure the well-being of those affected by the crisis.
He urged the military junta to take heed of the will of the international community and respond positively by giving up its illegal claim to power.
QUIN HUA SUN (China) expressed sympathy for the suffering of the people of Sierra Leone. His Government had always adopted a cautious attitude towards sanctions. It hoped the measures would be conducive to an early settlement of the crisis and would not be harmful to the people of Sierra Leone.
ALFREDO LOPES CABRAL (Guinea Bissau) said the Security Council had rejected the exercise of political power in Sierra Leone through force and had called for the restoration of democracy. Today, the Council was asked to respond in practical terms. The democratically elected Government had worked towards national reintegration and the creation of a solid base for democracy. However, none of those efforts had been concluded and the coup had destroyed the democratic hopes of the people of Sierra Leone.
The ECOWAS had worked to return democracy to Sierra Leone, as had Governments of the region, he continued. Regional governments had reminded
Security Council - 13 - Press Release SC/6425 3822nd Meeting (AM) 8 October 1997
the Security Council of its duty to uphold the Charter and today's meeting was a part of the effort to fulfil such obligations. The lack of progress towards a peaceful solution obliged the international community to express strong condemnation. It was hoped that today's resolution would be a clear expression of the international community's resolve and would not be misinterpreted by the junta and viewed as just another statement by the Council.
The imposition of sanctions was being undertaken with reluctance due to the negative impact they could have on the humanitarian situation, he said. He urged the people of Sierra Leone to accept the additional burden resulting from the sanctions in order to achieve the goal of restoration of democracy. The international community should lend every assistance to this effort, which was an expression of African solidarity to return democracy. The international community today was refusing to accept the seizure of political power through force.
BILL RICHARDSON (United States) said his Government strongly supported the resolution. The people of Sierra Leone had refused to accept the regime of the junta, and the United States admired their commitment to democracy, just as it condemned the abuses of the junta. His Government also commended the efforts of the ECOWAS Committee, as well as the work of the Secretary- General to bring about a peaceful restoration of democracy.
He said that some members of the Council had argued that the sanctions imposed by the resolution should have an expiration date, but that would require the Council to re-approve its sanctions down the road and it would cause doubt about the Council's future intentions. It would also create uncertainty for suppliers and others about the possibility that the sanctions would lapse. Most importantly, an expiration date would encourage the junta to "tough it out". "The call by some States to accept less than full compliance in other sanctions regimes might even feed such a pernicious hope", he added. It would be tragic if that led the junta to make the wrong decision. Compliance, not the calendar, should govern the Council's approach.
The resolution, he stated, made clear how the junta could end the sanctions: by restoring the legitimate Government. The path was clear. Sierra Leone could return to the urgent task of national reconciliation and economic development. He called upon the military officers in Freetown to meet with the mediators this week in Abuja to achieve a negotiated settlement and to restore the constitutional order and the democratically elected Government.
JUAN SOMAVIA (Chile) said that regional governments had led the efforts to remove the junta and return democracy to Sierra Leone. Those attempts had not been successful and today further action was needed. The resolution
Security Council - 14 - Press Release SC/6425 3822nd Meeting (AM) 8 October 1997
before the Council was the result of lengthy consultations and demonstrated the Council's effort to impose sanctions on the junta and not the people.
The humanitarian situation in Sierra Leone must be closely watched, and the impact of the sanctions must be monitored, he said. It was hoped that innocent people would not be harmed by the sanctions, but the political objective of returning the democratically elected Government must be achieved.
* *** *