SECURITY COUNCIL, CONCERNED BY OUTBREAK OF FIGHTING IN LIBERIA, CALLS FOR DISENGAGEMENT OF FORCES, COMPREHENSIVE CEASE-FIRE

9 April 1996
SC/6204

SECURITY COUNCIL, CONCERNED BY OUTBREAK OF FIGHTING IN LIBERIA, CALLS FOR DISENGAGEMENT OF FORCES, COMPREHENSIVE CEASE-FIRE

9 April 1996

Press ReleaseSC/6204

SECURITY COUNCIL, CONCERNED BY OUTBREAK OF FIGHTING IN LIBERIA, CALLS FOR DISENGAGEMENT OF FORCES, COMPREHENSIVE CEASE-FIRE

19960409 Presidential Statement Calls for Release of Hostages By United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy

Expressing grave concern at the outbreak of fighting in Monrovia and the rapidly deteriorating situation throughout Liberia, the Security Council this afternoon called on the Liberian National Transitional Government and the Liberian parties to work with the Economic Community of West African States' Monitoring Observer Group (ECOMOG) to immediately disengage all forces, reestablish peace and law and order in the capital and an effective and comprehensive cease-fire throughout the country.

In a statement read out by its President, Juan Somovia (Chile), the Council called on the parties, in particular the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO-J), to release all hostages without harm. It called upon all parties to take immediate steps to ensure the safety of United Nations and other international personnel and to respect the inviolability of diplomatic personnel and property. It further called upon the parties to return all captured weapons and equipment to ECOMOG.

The Council went on to state that unless Liberia's political leaders immediately showed by concrete positive actions a reaffirmation of their commitment to the 1995 Abuja Agreement and the cease-fire, they risked losing the support of the international community. The Council reaffirmed its support for the Abuja Agreement as the only existing framework for resolving the country's political crisis and the crucial role of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in bringing the conflict to an end.

The Council declared its intention, based on the progress made in implementing the steps called for in its statement, to determine what further measures might be appropriate regarding the future United Nations presence in Liberia.

In his report of 1 April (document S/1996/232) submitted prior to the 6 April outbreak of fighting in Monrovia, the Secretary-General stated that the implementation of the Abuja Agreement is ultimately the responsibility of

Security Council - 2 - Press Release SC/6204 3649th Meeting (PM) 9 April 1996

the Liberian Council of State and especially the faction leaders. The six-man ruling Council was created with the August 1995 signing of the peace agreement by the faction leaders.

The Secretary-General called on the Liberian Council of State to approve the disarmament and demobilization plan immediately to ensure that the factions would be ready to disarm by 30 April in cooperation with ECOMOG and the United Nations. The Secretary-General will report to the Council on progress before the expiration of the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL) mandate on 31 May.

Noting that ECOMOG still lacked the additional manpower and logistic capabilities to deploy throughout the country and establish a secure environment for implementing the peace process, the Secretary-General stressed that the international community needed to take urgent action to enable the Mission to discharge its mandate. The failure to provide necessary resources had given the factions the opportunity to procrastinate and renege on their commitments. Without a resolute effort to give ECOMOG the necessary resources, the international community may ultimately face a major humanitarian disaster that could destabilize the subregion and would be far more costly in the long run, the Secretary-General stated.

Text of Presidential Statement

The text of the presidential statement, which will be issued as document S/PRST/1996/16, reads as follows:

"The Security Council expresses its grave concern at the outbreak of fighting in Monrovia and the rapidly deteriorating situation throughout Liberia. This new outbreak of factional fighting, the harassment and abuse of the civilian population and humanitarian and relief workers, threatens the peace process and raises serious doubts about the commitment of the factions to its implementation.

"The Security Council reminds all parties of their responsibility fully to respect international humanitarian law with regard to the civilian population and to ensure the safety of United Nations and other international personnel, and calls upon them to take immediate steps to this end. The Council calls on all parties to fulfil their obligation to respect the inviolability of diplomatic personnel and property.

"The Security Council expresses its deep concern at the failure of the Council of State and the faction leaders to demonstrate the political will and determination required for implementation of the Abuja Agreement and fully honour their obligation to re-establish and maintain the cease-fire, they risk losing the support of the international community. The Council underscores the personal responsibility of Liberia's leaders in this regard.

Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6204 3649th Meeting (PM) 9 April 1996

"The Security Council reaffirms its support for the Abuja Agreement as the only existing framework for resolving Liberia's political crisis and the crucial role of the Economic Community of West African States in bringing the conflict to an end.

"The Security Council calls on the Liberian National Transitional Government and the Liberian parties to work with the West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) immediately to disengage all forces, re-establish peace and law and order in Monrovia and an effective and comprehensive cease- fire throughout the country. The Council calls on the parties, in particular ULIMO-J, to release all hostages without harm. It further calls upon the parties to return all captured weapons and equipment to ECOMOG.

"The Security Council reminds all States of their obligation to comply strictly with the embargo on all deliveries of weapons and military equipment to Liberia imposed by resolution 788 (1992) and to bring all instances of violations of the arm embargo before the Committee established pursuant to resolution 985 (1995).

"The Security Council declares its intention, based on the progress made by the Liberian parties in implementing the steps set out above, and after consideration of the report of the Secretary-General on developments in Liberia, to determine what further measures may be appropriated regarding the future United Nations presence in Liberia."

The meeting, which began at 1:23 p.m., was adjourned at 1:30 p.m.

* *** *

For information media. Not an official record.