SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS ON LIBERIAN FACTIONS TO END HOSTILITIES FORTHWITH, FULFILLING AGREED COMMITMENT ON TIME

27 November 1996
SC/6295

SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS ON LIBERIAN FACTIONS TO END HOSTILITIES FORTHWITH, FULFILLING AGREED COMMITMENT ON TIME

27 November 1996

Press ReleaseSC/6295

SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS ON LIBERIAN FACTIONS TO END HOSTILITIES FORTHWITH, FULFILLING AGREED COMMITMENT ON TIME

19961127 Resolution 1083 also Extends Mandate of UN Observer Group; Disarmament Urged with Rehabilitation for Those Demobilized

Calling upon the Liberian factions to cease hostilities immediately and to implement the commitments they had entered into, especially the 17 August 1996 Abuja Agreement of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Security Council this afternoon extended the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL) for three months until 28 February 1997. The Abuja Agreement established a mechanism for verifying compliance, and possible measures against the factions for non-compliance. It also established a timetable for the Agreement's implementation.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1083 (1996), the Council also decided to maintain UNOMIL deployments at an appropriate level as recommended by the Secretary-General and requested him to advise the Council of any planned further deployments. In his previous report (document S/1996/858) the Secretary-General had said the final composition of UNOMIL's military component would depend on the deployment of the ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG), but would not exceed a total of 92 military observers. The UNOMIL's current military strength is 23 observers.

By other terms of the resolution, the Liberian factions were urged to complete on time the disarmament process which was one of the key steps leading up to the elections in 1997. The Council stressed the urgent need for work and training projects to help ensure the social and economic rehabilitation of demobilized combatants.

The Council condemned in the strongest possible terms the practice of recruiting, training and deploying children for combat, and demanded that the warring parties immediately cease that inhumane and abhorrent activity and release all child soldiers for demobilization. It also demanded that they facilitate the freedom of movement of UNOMIL, ECOMOG, and international organizations and agencies, and the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance. It was further demanded that the factions strictly abide by the principles and rules of international humanitarian law.

Stressing the importance of close contacts and enhanced coordination between the two groups, the Council called upon ECOMOG to provide security for UNOMIL.

The Secretary-General was requested to keep the Council informed of the situation in Liberia, especially on the progress of demobilization and disarmament, and to submit by 31 January 1997 a progress report and recommendations on possible United Nations support for the holding of free and fair elections.

The meeting was called to order at 3.25 p.m. and adjourned at 3.27 p.m.

The full text of the draft resolution (document S/1996/984) read as follows:

"The Security Council,

"Recalling its previous resolutions concerning the situation in Liberia, in particular resolution 1071 (1996) of 30 August 1996,

"Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General dated 19 November 1996 (S/1996/962),

"Noting with grave concern the continued violations by the factions of the cease-fire as agreed to in the 19 August 1995 Abuja Agreement (S/1995/742) and in the timetable for implementation established on 17 August 1996 (S/1996/679) when the Abuja Agreement was extended, which threaten the prospects for peace in Liberia,

"Welcoming the beginning of the disarmament process on 22 November in accordance with the amended implementation schedule of the Abuja Agreement and urging all factions to participate as they have agreed,

"Reiterating that the people of Liberia and their leaders bear the ultimate responsibility for achieving peace and national reconciliation,

"Noting with appreciation the active efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to restore peace, security and stability to Liberia and commending the African States which have contributed to the ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG),

"Expressing its appreciation to those States which have supported the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL) and those which have contributed to the Trust Fund for Liberia,

"Emphasizing that the continued presence of UNOMIL is predicated on the presence of ECOMOG and its commitment to ensure the safety of UNOMIL,

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"1. Calls upon the Liberian factions to cease hostilities immediately and to implement the commitments they have entered into, especially the agreement of ECOWAS in Abuja on 17 August 1996, which 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 non-compliance;

"2. Urges the factions to complete on time the disarmament process, which is one of the key steps leading up to the forthcoming elections in 1997;

"3. Stresses the urgent need for the international community to support the work and training projects to help ensure the social and economic rehabilitation of demobilized combatants;

"4. Decides to extend the mandate of UNOMIL until 31 March 1997;

"5. Decides further to maintain UNOMIL deployments at an appropriate level as recommended in paragraph 37 of the report of the Secretary-General (S/1996/962), and requests that the Secretary-General, taking into account the need to ensure the security of UNOMIL personnel, advise the Council of any planned further deployments;

"6. Condemns in the strongest possible terms the practice of recruiting, training, and deploying children for combat, and demands that the warring parties immediately cease this inhumane and abhorrent activity and release all child soldiers for demobilization;

"7. 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, and calls upon the leaders of the factions to return stolen property;

"8. Demands that the factions facilitate the freedom of movement of UNOMIL, ECOMOG, and international organizations and agencies and the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance and that they strictly abide by the principles and rules of international humanitarian law;

"9. Stresses the importance of respect for human rights in Liberia, and emphasizes the human rights aspect of UNOMIL's mandate;

"10. Stresses also the obligation of all States to comply strictly with the embargo on the 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;

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"11. Reiterates strongly its appeal to all States to provide financial, logistical and other assistance in support of ECOMOG to assist it in carrying out its mission and to contribute to the United Nations Trust Fund for Liberia in order to help implement the peace process, including demobilization and reintegration;

"12. Stresses the importance of close contacts and enhanced coordination between UNOMIL and ECOMOG at all levels and calls upon 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;

"13. Requests the Secretary-General to keep the Council informed of the situation in Liberia, especially on the progress of demobilization and disarmament and to submit by 31 January 1997 a progress report and recommendations on possible United Nations support for the holding of free and fair elections;

"14. Decides to remain seized of the matter."

The Council also had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL) (document S/1996/962) providing an update on developments in the country since last October and in which the Secretary-General recommends an extension of UNOMIL's mandate for a further period of four months, until 31 March 1997. He will submit to the Security Council by 31 January 1997 a progress report containing, among other things, recommendations on the role the United Nations could play in facilitating the holding of free and fair elections in Liberia.

The report indicates that there have been some relatively encouraging developments during the reporting period, despite the shooting incident at the Executive Mansion on 31 October in which an attempt was made on the life of Charles Taylor, a member of the Council of State and leader of the National Patriotic Front. The ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) have acted quickly and decisively to events and the cease-fire continues to hold in Monrovia, the capital, and most other parts of the country. The leaders of the two wings of the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO) agreed last October to cease hostilities and to create a buffer zone between their forces in the west. The ECOMOG and UNOMIL have increased their patrols in the area and have observed that, while the situation in the west remains fragile, the two factions have begun to implement their agreements.

The report observes that the entrenched hostility and mistrust that have resulted from the protracted conflict continue to pose a threat to the peace process. It is important, it goes on, that the faction and civilian leaders take steps to overcome those obstacles and work together constructively within

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the Council of State, so that the peace process can move forward. The Secretary-General calls upon the leaders of the factions, particularly the National Patriotic Front of Liberia and the Liberian Peace Council, to put aside their differences and to use the political process, instead of military means, to promote the interests of the people they claim to represent. The Secretary-General also calls upon them to facilitate the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance.

The report says steps have been taken to address the complicated questions of how to hold free and fair elections in the country. The ECOWAS Committee of Nine had, at a meeting in Monrovia on 8 and 9 November, established a subcommittee to review the question of elections and develop the procedures for the electoral process. The Liberian Council of State has also established a committee to seek the views of Liberian civilian and faction leaders, as well as of the Government's external partners, on the major issues relating to the holding of free and fair elections. At the request of the Liberian National Transitional Government, the Secretary-General intends to send a technical survey team to Liberia to prepare recommendations on the conduct of the electoral process and the role the United Nations could play.

Another positive development in Liberia, according to the report, has been the recent demonstration of support on the part of the international community. A conference scheduled to be held at Brussels on 21 November, under the auspices of the Government of the Netherlands, was to continue discussions first started on 22 October in New York, on the various aspects of peace-keeping and peace-building in Liberia. The Secretary-General calls on donors to ensure that their expressions of support are quickly turned into concrete contributions, including the critical resources needed for the expansion of ECOMOG, the demobilization of combatants and the holding of elections.

The force strength of ECOMOG remains at 7,500 all ranks and its priority continues to be to ensure security in Monrovia and its environs. As at 15 November, the military strength of UNOMIL stood at 23 observers. It is expected that an additional 11 military observers will be deployed to Liberia, bringing UNOMIL's military component to 34. The deployment of any additional military observers to Liberia will depend on progress in the peace process, particularly with regard to disarmament and demobilization. In accordance with the revised timetable for the implementation of the Abuja Agreement, disarmament and demobilization were scheduled to commence on 22 November 1996. The deployment of ECOMOG troops was to start on 20 November at the following disarmament sites: Voinjama; Bo Waterside; Camp Naama; SOS Village; Zwedru; and Tubmanburg. Disarmament will also take place in Monrovia, at Camp Schiefflin, and in Greenville.

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On the issue of human rights, the report says UNOMIL -- in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, ECOMOG and local human rights groups -- is continuing its investigation into the 28 September massacre of 21 innocent civilians at Sinje, and is following up on other allegations of human rights violations. A human rights officer has been assigned to assist the Secretary- General's Special Representative, Anthony Nyakyi, in carrying out that aspect of UNOMIL's mandate. The Secretary-General calls on the international community to consider ways in which it can help strengthen UNOMIL's human rights activities and to provide technical and logistical assistance, either through the United Nations Trust Fund for Liberia or on a bilateral basis.

There have been no further voluntary contributions to the United Nations Trust Fund for Liberia since the Secretary-General's previous report in October. As at 31 October 1996, unpaid assessed contributions to the UNOMIL special account since its inception amounted to $10.5 million, while the outstanding amount for all peace-keeping operations was $1,774 million.

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For information media. Not an official record.