|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
5810th Meeting (AM)
Security Council renews arms, travel bans on Liberia for further year,
Unanimously adopting resolution 1792 (2007)
Based on its assessment of progress made to date towards meeting the conditions for lifting sanctions imposed on Liberia, the Security Council today renewed the arms and travel embargoes for another year.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1792 (2007) under the Charter’s Chapter VII, the Council also extended the mandate of the Panel of Experts monitoring the sanctions until 20 June 2008 to conduct a follow-up mission to the region to investigate implementation of the measures, to assess the impact and effectiveness of the provision of resolution 1532 (2004) concerning the assets of former Liberian President Charles Taylor, to assess implementation of Liberian forestry legislation, and to assess Liberia’s compliance with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme regarding diamonds.
The Council noted with concern the lack of progress in implementing paragraph 1 of resolution 1532 (2004) regarding the assets of the former Liberian President Charles Taylor, his immediate family and other close allies, and called on the Government of Liberia to continue to make all necessary efforts to fulfil its obligations.
The Council encouraged the Government of Liberia to invite the Kimberley Process to conduct a review visit within a year of Liberia’s full participation in and implementation of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, and encouraged the Kimberley Process to inform the Council of its assessment of progress made.
The meeting was called to order at 10:15 a.m. and adjourned at 10:18 a.m.
The full text of resolution 1792 (2007) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its previous resolutions and statements by its President on the situation in Liberia and West Africa,
“Welcoming the sustained progress made by the Government of Liberia since January 2006, in rebuilding Liberia for the benefit of all Liberians, with the support of the international community,
“Recalling its decision not to renew the measures in paragraph 10 of resolution 1521 (2003) regarding round log and timber products originating in Liberia, and stressing that Liberia’s progress in the timber sector must continue with the effective implementation and enforcement of the National Forestry Reform Law signed into law on 5 October 2006, including the resolution of land and tenure rights, the conservation and protection of biodiversity, and the process for the awarding of contracts for commercial forestry operations,
“Recalling its decision to terminate the measures in paragraph 6 of resolution 1521 (2003) regarding diamonds,
“Welcoming the Government of Liberia’s participation in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, noting Liberia’s implementation of the necessary internal controls and other requirements of the Kimberley Process, and calling on the Government of Liberia to continue to work diligently to ensure the effectiveness of these controls,
“Stressing the continuing importance of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) in improving security through Liberia and helping the Government establish its authority throughout the country, particularly in the diamond and timber-producing regions, and border areas,
“Taking note of the report of the United Nations Panel of Experts on Liberia dated 5 December 2007 (S/2007/689, annex), including on the issues of diamonds, timber, targeted sanctions, and arms and security,
“Having reviewed the measures imposed by paragraphs 2 and 4 of resolution 1521 (2003) and paragraph 1 of resolution 1532 (2004) and the progress towards meeting the conditions set out by paragraph 5 of resolution 1521 (2003), and concluding that insufficient progress has been made towards that end,
“Underlining its determination to support the Government of Liberia in its efforts to meet those conditions, and encouraging donors to do likewise,
“Urging all parties to support the Government of Liberia in identifying and implementing measures that will ensure progress towards meeting the conditions set out by paragraph 5 of resolution 1521 (2003);
“Determining that, despite significant progress having been made in Liberia, the situation there continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,
“Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
“1. Decides, on the basis of its assessment of progress made to date towards meeting the conditions for lifting the measures imposed by resolution 1521 (2003):
(a) To renew the measures on arms imposed by paragraph 2 of resolution 1521 (2003) and modified by paragraphs 1 and 2 of resolution 1683 (2006) and by paragraph 1 (b) of resolution 1731 (2006) and to renew the measures on travel imposed by paragraph 4 of resolution 1521 (2003) for a further period of 12 months from the date of adoption of this resolution;
(b) That Member States shall notify the Committee established by paragraph 21 of resolution 1521 (2003) (“the Committee”) upon delivery of all arms and related materiel supplied in accordance with paragraph 2 (e) or 2 (f) of resolution 1521 (2003), paragraph 2 of resolution 1683 (2006), or paragraph 1 (b) of resolution 1731;
(c) To review any of the above measures at the request of the Government of Liberia, once the Government reports to the Council that the conditions set out in resolution 1521 (2003) for terminating the measures have been met, and provides the Council with information to justify its assessment;
“2. Recalls that the measures imposed by paragraph 1 of resolution 1532 (2004) remain in force, notes with concern the findings of the Panel of Experts on the lack of progress in this regard, and calls on the Government of Liberia to continue to make all necessary efforts to fulfil its obligations;
“3. Reconfirms its intention to review the measures imposed by paragraph 1 of resolution 1532 (2004) at least once a year;
“4. Welcomes UNMIL’s assistance to the Government of Liberia in conducting joint patrols with the Forestry Development Authority with a view to strengthening Government control in forestry areas;
“5. Decides to extend the mandate of the current Panel of Experts appointed pursuant to paragraph 1 of resolution 1760 (2007) for a further period until 20 June 2008 to undertake the following tasks:
(a) To conduct a follow-up assessment mission to Liberia and neighbouring States, in order to investigate and compile a report on the implementation, and any violations, of the measures imposed by resolution 1521 (2003) and renewed in paragraph 1 above, including any information relevant to the designation by the Committee of the individuals described in paragraph 4 (a) of resolution 1521 (2003) and paragraph 1 of resolution 1532 (2004), and including the various sources of financing, such as from natural resources, for the illicit trade of arms;
(b) To assess the impact of and effectiveness of the measures imposed by paragraph 1 of resolution 1532 (2004), including particularly with respect to the assets of former President Charles Taylor;
(c) To assess the implementation of forestry legislation passed by the Liberian Congress on 19 September 2006 and signed into law by President Johnson-Sirleaf on 5 October 2006;
(d) To assess the Government of Liberia’s compliance with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, and to coordinate with the Kimberley Process in assessing compliance;
(e) To report to the Council through the Committee by 1 June 2008 on all the issues listed in this paragraph, and to provide informal updates to the Committee as appropriate before that date, especially on progress in the timber sector since the lifting of paragraph 10 of resolution 1521 (2003) in June 2006, and in the diamond sector since the lifting of paragraph 6 of resolution 1521 (2003) in April 2007;
(f) To cooperate actively with other relevant groups of experts, in particular that on Côte d’Ivoire re-established by paragraph 8 of resolution 1782 (2007), and with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme;
(g) To identify and make recommendations regarding areas where the capacity of States in the region can be strengthened to facilitate the implementation of the measures imposed by paragraph 4 of resolution 1521 (2003) and paragraph 1 of resolution 1532 (2004);
“6. Requests the Secretary-General to reappoint the current members of the Panel of Experts and to make the necessary financial and security arrangements to support the work of the Panel;
“7. Calls upon all States and the Government of Liberia to cooperate fully with the Panel of Experts in all the aspects of its mandate;
“8. Encourages the Government of Liberia to invite the Kimberley Process to conduct a review visit within a year of Liberia’s full participation in and implementation of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme;
“9. Encourages the Kimberley Process to inform, as appropriate, the Security Council through its Committee about any possible review visit to Liberia and its assessment of progress made by the Liberian Government in implementing the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme;
“10. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
When the Council this morning considered the situation in Liberia, it had before it a letter dated 5 December from the Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1521 (2003) addressed to the Council President, containing the report of the Panel of Experts (document S/2007/689).
Following the lifting of sanctions on rough diamonds and admittance to membership of the Kimberley Process, the Government of Liberia lifted its moratorium on diamond mining on 26 July 2007, according to the report. Liberia commenced rough diamond exports in early September and had issued nine Kimberley Process certificates for shipments containing 14,632 carats valued at approximately $1.848 million by the end of October. These exports included five parcels of diamonds that did not meet the standards of the new internal control system. The Kimberley Process Participation Committee did provide clearance, however, for the last four shipments, although diamond experts had earlier concluded that they could not exclude the possibility of Ivorian diamonds being present in one parcel. The Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy has obtained information that a shipment of diamonds was exported to Israel without a Kimberley Process certificate.
Addressing the issue of timber, the report notes that, since the lifting of sanctions and the promulgation of the Forestry Reform Law, in June and October 2006, respectively, the Forestry Development Authority has been preparing the regulatory framework for commercial logging, conservation and community forestry. The Managing Director signed 10 core forestry regulations into effect in September. The Authority has vetted a national forest management strategy. Given delays, the Authority now plans to award only six short-term timber sales contracts in early 2008. As required by the law, the Authority has established a panel to review prequalification applications from timber companies and it has adjusted projected revenues from the timber sector from $5.2 million to $1.9 million for the period 2007-2008. Community forestry and wildlife laws were not submitted to the Legislature within the legally required period, although the Authority hopes to submit these bills early in 2008. The Authority and partners are working on the legally mandated national protected area network and have prioritized three areas for protection.
According to the report, the Panel found no evidence of significant movements of arms or ex-combatants across Liberia’s borders during the reporting period. Neighbouring countries and border areas have been relatively stable. Armed robbery rates for Monrovia have increased dramatically compared to 2006, however, with firearms involved in about a third of the cases. This worrisome development has raised the profile of the debate over rearming Liberia’s security services and has highlighted some of the challenges confronting the establishment of sustainable rule of law. In the counties, stability remains vulnerable to the porous borders; the lack of equipment and capacity of law enforcement agencies; and localized, yet persisting, combatant structures.
Turning to the issue of the travel ban and assets freeze, the report states that, during the reporting period, two people on the travel ban list applied for waivers, of which one was approved and one was disallowed. The capacity of some relevant authorities is limited, which could have an impact on their ability to restrict the movement of people on the travel ban list within the West African subregion. No assets have been frozen in Liberia during the Panel’s mandate. The National Legislature defeated the assets freeze bill. Two prominent members of the Legislature (Jewel Howard Taylor and Edwin Snowe) remain on the assets freeze list. Investigations by the Government of Nigeria have found no conclusive proof of any funds, economic assets or investments made by Charles Taylor in Nigeria. Since the Government of Nigeria has not yet shared its reports, the Panel has not been able to confirm these findings.
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