29 January 1996


29 January 1996

Press Release


19960129 Unanimously Adopts Resolution 1041 (1996); Requests Secretary-General's Progress Report by 31 March

The Security Council this evening extended the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL) until 31 May, stressing that continued support for the Liberian peace process is contingent on the parties demonstrated commitment to achieving national reconciliation. It also asked the Secretary-General to provide it with a progress report by 31 March.

Through its unanimous adoption of resolution 1041 (1996), the Council called on all the Liberian parties to implement fully and speedily all the agreements which they have undertaken, in particular the provisions of the Abuja Agreement on the cease-fire, disarmament and demobilization of combatants, and national reconciliation.

Expressing grave concern at recent cease-fire violations and attacks on troops of the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG), the Council condemned the attacks against ECOMOG personnel and civilians and demanded that such hostile acts cease forthwith.

The Council again demanded that all factions respect the status of ECOMOG and UNOMIL personnel, as well as humanitarian organizations and agencies, and that they facilitate humanitarian deliveries. It called on ECOMOG to intensify action to provide security for UNOMIL observers and civilian staff and stressed the need for enhanced coordination between the two bodies.

Member States were urged to continue supporting the Liberian peace process through contributions to the United Nations Trust Fund for Liberia, and to provide financial, logistical and other assistance for ECOMOG. They were also reminded of their obligations to comply with the arms embargo imposed on Liberia and to bring all instances of violations before the relevant Committee of the Security Council.

By other terms of the resolution, the Council stressed the importance of respect for human rights in Liberia, as well as the need to rehabilitate promptly its penitentiary system. It also expressed its condolences for ECOMOG personnel who have lost their lives.

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Addressing the Council at the outset of the meeting, Alhaji G.V. Kromah, a member of the Collective Presidency of Liberia's transitional government, said the peace process was irreversible. He stressed the need for ECOMOG, UNOMIL and the government itself to be properly equipped and cited the importance of technical assistance for capacity-building.

Statements were also made by the representatives of Italy (on behalf of the European Union), Botswana, Egypt, Indonesia, Honduras, Guinea-Bissau, Republic of Korea, United States and Germany.

The meeting, which was called to order at 5:38 p.m., adjourned at 6:35 p.m.

Secretary-General's Report

The Security Council meets this afternoon to continue its consideration of the situation in Liberia. The Council previously met on Thursday, 25 January.

In a report on developments in Liberia since 18 December 1995 (documents S/1996/47 and Add.1), the Secretary-General recommends that the Council consider an extension of the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL) for a period of four months, until 31 May. At that time, the situation will be reviewed, keeping in mind that, under the Abuja Agreement, elections are scheduled to be held before the end of August. During that period, the Secretary-General expects the Liberian National Transitional Government (LNTG) and the faction leaders in Liberia to cooperate with the Economic Community of West African States' Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) and UNOMIL in stabilizing the situation and in implementing the Agreement.

Should the Council decide to extend UNOMIL's mandate, the Secretary- General will seek the additional resources required from the General Assembly. The Assembly has authorized him to enter into commitments in the amount of $12,169,600 gross for UNOMIL for the period 1 February to 31 March, subject to the extension of its mandate by the Council. As of 15 January, unpaid assessed contributions to the UNOMIL special account since its inception amounted to $7.7 million. Contributions of about $24 million to the Trust Fund for Liberia, as of 15 January 1996, had been received, and expenditures of some $21.9 million had been authorized.

The Secretary-General's report was issued in pursuance of Council resolution 1014 (1995) which extended the mandate of UNOMIL until 31 January 1996, and resolution 1020 (1995) which adjusted the mandate. An addendum to the report contains a map of UNOMIL deployment as of 19 January.

The Secretary-General observes that recent events in Liberia have delayed the implementation of the Abuja Agreement further. The peace process is now at a critical juncture, and the full support of all concerned will be required to overcome the recent setbacks. The faction leaders must ensure that their forces effectively observe the cease-fire, disengage without further delay and provide the cooperation necessary to enable ECOMOG and UNOMIL to initiate disarmament and demobilization as soon as possible. The LNTG must provide its full support to these efforts and play an active role in ensuring that the Liberian factions extend the necessary cooperation to ECOMOG and UNOMIL. The international community, for its part, must provide the resources necessary to enable ECOMOG to fulfil its responsibilities effectively, since the continued lack of such support could jeopardize the implementation of the Agreement.

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The success of the demobilization process will depend on whether ex- combatants can sustain themselves other than by use of the gun. The creation of such opportunities depends, in part, on the provision of funds by the donor community and on private investment. Such support will not be forthcoming, however, unless there is a safe and secure environment. This depends, in turn, on the successful disarmament of combatants.

The Abuja Agreement of 19 August 1995 addressed the composition of the Council of State and called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the United Nations to monitor the operations of the Ad Hoc Elections Commission. According to the Agreement, the disengagement of forces was to be completed by 26 September 1995 and for disarmament to commence on 1 December 1995. That timetable underestimated the delays and obstacles involved. The causes for delay have become more serious, and they can be overcome only if the faction leaders are determined to proceed with the peace process, bearing in mind that ECOWAS and the international community cannot be expected to support the peace process indefinitely.

The period under review has been dominated by the question of the disarmament and demobilization of combatants, the Secretary-General continues. However, the peace process suffered a setback when General Roosevelt Johnson's wing of the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO-J) attacked ECOMOG in Tubmanburg on 28 December 1995. The Nigerian Foreign Minister said that the developments in Tubmanburg confirmed the risks ECOMOG had taken in deploying its troops without the strength and resources necessary to carry out its mandate effectively. He expressed concern over the delay in the delivery of logistic resources pledged to ECOMOG and emphasized the need for further international assistance in this regard.

According to the Secretary-General, while efforts to contain the situation are continuing, reports of fighting and looting of villages by ULIMO-J combatants in other parts of Liberia are still being received.

In its resolution 1020 (1995), the Security Council requested UNOMIL "to observe and verify the election process, in consultation with OAU and ECOWAS, including the legislative and presidential elections to be held in accordance with provisions of the peace agreements". In the report, the Secretary- General states his intention to appoint a Senior Electoral Officer who will follow the preparatory phases of the electoral process on a full-time basis. He will also send a technical mission to Liberia, which will consult LNTG, OAU and ECOWAS in drafting a framework for the observation and verification of the electoral process. Thereafter, the Secretary-General will submit further recommendations to the Security Council.

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The fighting in Tubmanburg was the most serious cease-fire violation since the signing of the Abuja Agreement. It began on 28 December 1995, when ECOMOG positions in the town, as well as along the highway up to Kle, were attacked and overrun by ULIMO-J fighters. After lengthy consultations, fighting ceased on 4 January 1996, but the situation remains tense. All UNOMIL personnel deployed to Tubmanburg were evacuated by 30 December 1995. The ECOMOG has reported that it suffered 94 casualties (16 dead and 78 wounded), with an additional 10 soldiers reported missing in action. ECOMOG arms, ammunition and equipment were also seized by ULIMO-J. Civilian and ULIMO-J casualties are so far undetermined.

During the period under review, several additional cease-fire violations were reported. These included harassment of civilians, humanitarian workers and ECOMOG troops by combatants in other areas. There has been no progress in the disengagement of forces and fighters continue to occupy their positions and maintain checkpoints. The deployment of ECOMOG has been suspended in the light of the Tubmanburg incident.

The UNOMIL has continued to monitor the human rights situation in Liberia and carry out investigations of major violations. The fighting in Tubmanburg and Kle has had serious human rights implications.

The United Nations Humanitarian Assistance Coordination Office is engaged in designing programmes and activities that would lead to the reintegration of the demobilized. It is also focusing on the immediate requirement for concerted humanitarian action in response to the needs arising from the recent fighting. The humanitarian assistance community has continued its efforts to reach previously inaccessible parts of the country. Although relief convoys are generally escorted by unarmed factional representatives, poor communications between faction leaders and their fighters in the hinterland have impeded humanitarian assistance activities.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) held a regional conference in Monrovia in early December in preparation for the organized repatriation of the estimated 750,000 Liberian refugees. With increased security near the Guinean border in northern Liberia, some 7,000 Liberian refugees have crossed into Nimba County since the latter part of 1995. It is expected that the recent opening of some roads to the border counties, as well as the reconstruction by the World Food Programme (WFP) of the bridge linking north-eastern Liberia with Côte d'Ivoire, will further accelerate the voluntary return of refugees. While economic activity continues to increase, maintenance of this trend will depend on the restoration of secure conditions throughout the country.

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Draft Resolution

The Council also has before it a draft resolution (document S/1996/57) which reads as follows:

"The Security Council,

"Recalling all its previous resolutions concerning the situation in Liberia, in particular resolution 1020 (1995) of 10 November 1995,

"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General dated 23 January 1996 (S/1996/47) on the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL),

"Commending the positive role of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in its continuing efforts to restore peace, security and stability in Liberia,

"Expressing its grave concern about the recent incidence of cease-fire violations and attacks on ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) troops as well as continuing delays in the process of disengagement and disarmament of forces,

"Stressing the need for all parties to the Abuja Agreement (S/1995/742, annex) to adhere strictly to its terms and expedite its implementation,

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

"Expressing also its appreciation to those African States that have contributed and are contributing troops to ECOMOG,

"Commending also those Member States that have provided assistance in support of the peace process and to ECOMOG, including contributions to the Trust Fund for Liberia,

"1. Welcomes the report of the Secretary-General dated 23 January 1996;

"2. Decides to extend the mandate of UNOMIL until 31 May 1996;

"3. Calls upon all the Liberian parties to respect and implement fully and expeditiously all the agreements and commitments they have already entered into, in particular the provisions of the Abuja Agreement with regard to the maintenance of the cease-fire, disarmament and demobilization of combatants, and national reconciliation;

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"4. Condemns the recent armed attacks against personnel of ECOMOG and against civilians, and demands that such hostile acts cease forthwith;

"5. Expresses the Council's condolences to the Governments and peoples of the ECOMOG countries and the families of the ECOMOG personnel who have lost their lives;

"6. Demands once more that all factions in Liberia strictly respect the status of ECOMOG and UNOMIL personnel, as well as organizations and agencies delivering humanitarian assistance throughout Liberia, and further demands that these factions facilitate such deliveries and that they strictly abide by the relevant rules of international humanitarian law;

"7. Urges all Member States to provide financial, logistical and other assistance in support of ECOMOG to enable it to carry out its mandate, particularly with respect to disarmament of the Liberian factions;

"8. Stresses that continued support by the international community for the peace process in Liberia, including the participation of UNOMIL, is contingent on the demonstrated enduring commitment by the Liberian parties to resolve their differences peacefully and to achieve national reconciliation in line with the peace process;

"9. Requests the Secretary-General to submit by 31 March 1996 a progress report on the situation in Liberia, in particular the progress in disarmament and demobilization, and in planning for elections;

"10. 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 the UNOMIL concept of operations, to intensify the necessary action to provide security for UNOMIL observers and civilian staff;

"11. Stresses the need for close contacts and enhanced coordination between UNOMIL and ECOMOG in their operational activities at all levels;

"12. Urges Member States to continue to provide additional support for the peace process in Liberia by contributing to the United Nations Trust Fund for Liberia;

"13. Stresses also the importance of respect for human rights in Liberia as well as the need to rehabilitate promptly the penitentiary system in this country;

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"14. Reminds all States of their obligations 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 and to bring all instances of violations of the embargo before the Committee established pursuant to resolution 985 (1995) of 13 April 1995;

"15. Expresses its appreciation to the Secretary-General, his Special Representative and all UNOMIL personnel for their tireless efforts to bring peace and reconciliation to Liberia;

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


ALHAJI G.V. KROMAH, member of the Collective Presidency of Liberia, said that following six years of hardship for the people of Liberia, there was hope now for lasting peace. The leaders and the people of Liberia had no choice but to obey the call of reality -- live in peace or live no more. Consequently, the various peace accords brokered by the ECOWAS and witnessed by the United Nations and the OAU had culminated into a unified government in Monrovia with all parties to the conflict participating. The Liberian government, headed by a six-man collective presidency called the Council of State, had established hope for the full restoration of normalcy in Liberia.

"The principle of collective fate is today working so heavily in favour of peace that I and my colleagues on the Council of State do consider the peace process now as irreversible, no matter what happens and no matter what you hear or see", he said.

It was common knowledge that Liberia could not produce weapons and ammunition, and yet there was an abundant supply of sophisticated quality at hand, he said. There were also all sorts of sanctions imposed on Liberia, and yet everything prohibitive found its way into the country. Even at the peak of the war, invisible hands were felt. Yet it was convenient to have said the Liberian conflict was an internal matter and needed to be resolved by Liberians.

Technically, that declaration was correct, he said. The Liberian people had the ultimate responsibility to reject undesirable influences, whether they were internal or external. "We have learned our lessons, and from those lessons we are optimistic that our country has a new opportunity to develop faster and better; a new opportunity to build according to our legitimate taste and size; a new opportunity to convert the bitterness, mutual distrust and suspicion, prejudice and hatred, into elements of unity and prosperity. We are coerced by our immediate past to achieve peace and democracy", he said.

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It was important to note that more than 65 per cent of fighters in the various warring factions were relative of the more than 500,000 refugees and nearly an equal number of displaced Liberians. "The vast majority of these fighters want to disarm this minute", he said. That was one of the fundamental reasons why the warring party leaders hastened to sign the Abuja Agreement, which brought the current government into office. That government quickly launched a campaign to sensitize the international community to fulfil its promises of support for the Liberian peace process. It was hoped that not only would the initial pledges made at the subsequent pledging conference in New York be fulfilled, but further considerations would be given for the rest of the expenditure requirement.

A key factor in paving the way for peace and guaranteed elections in Liberia was disarmament, he said. The government mentioned had set up the National Disarmament and Demobilization Commission empowered to educate and inform all of the combatants about the timetable for deployment and disarmament, as well as explain the process of reintegration into the larger community. Deployment of the peace-keepers had begun. However, not only was ECOMOG under-equipped, but also the Liberian Government and UNOMIL. The logistical strength of the relevant government institutions would be decisive in the disarmament exercise. Equally import was the adherence to the provision of the agreements that there should be no use of communication to propagate hostility between or among the warring groups.

One of the best things the Liberian people expected out of their bitter encounter was guaranteed elections for national and local officials, he said. That was provided for in the peace agreements as a final stage, following deployment, disarmament, repatriation and voter registration. He appealed for greater assistance for the election program.

Public expectations for the provision of basis public services were high and affected the peace process, he said. Local politicians fully utilized the strains and gaps in public services to strengthen their individual postures. In the past several months, Liberia had reinforced its relations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and held discussions with the World Bank, the African Development Bank and other multilateral creditors. Those discussion were centred on the need to provide technical assistance for capacity-building. In the meantime, the government was putting in place certain minimum fiscal policies intended to improve tax and revenue administration and check government spending. A debt relief strategy was also being designed with the assistance of the multilateral institutions.

In the public safety area, police and other civic oriented institutions had been prioritized to cater to the social and attending problems of a warring society, he said. An effective and efficient police service would not

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only raise public confidence and a sense of security, but would also provide a proper substitute for the warring factions as the first line of contact with the civilians throughout the Liberian countryside. Basic health delivery and safe drinking water along with the supply of electricity, particularly in the highly populated city of Monrovia, had also become priority concern for the government. It was encouraging the privatization of important components of the public service institutions as a measure of speeding up recovery in those areas.

LORENZO FERRARIN (Italy), speaking on behalf of the European Union, recalled that in August of last year the Liberian factions had reached an agrement in Abuja to put an end to the civil war that had ravaged the country for six years. That agreement had been a turning point in the efforts to start a process of national reconciliation, after a long war which had taken the lives of 150,000 people while forcing 800,000 others to leave Liberia. The growing awareness that six years of war had been completely in vain, the wariness of the people and the deadlock between the factions set the groundwork for an agreement to be reached.

Now, however, the report of the Secretary-General presented a very disturbing picture of the peace process, he said. Major violations of the cease-fire had occurred, causing the tragic death of a number of African soldiers in ECOMOG. Despite those tragic developments, and subsequent delays in implementation of the Abuja Agreement, the Union agreed with the Secretary- General that the United Nations and the international community must remain committed to the Liberian peace process and that UNOMIL would have a crucial role. "We would not let the entrenched interest of few individuals, or the passive adjustment of the combatants to a never-ending state of war -- they are often teenagers who have known little else in their lives -- prevail over the desperate need for peace in this devastated country", he said.

The international community must now urge the Liberian factions to fulfil their obligations and enable the start of an effective disengagement of forces and, in due course, disarmament and demobilization of troops, he said. The European Union hoped that conditions would be in place to hold political elections in the country next August, as scheduled in the Abuja Agreement.

The draft resolution clearly spelled out the international community's continued support for the peace process was contingent upon the commitment of the Liberian parties to resolve their differences peacefully and to achieve national reconciliation. Their behaviour wold be carefully monitored, and the leaders would be held responsible for the deeds of their men. The draft also placed squarely on the Liberian factions the responsibility to respect the status and ensure the safety of ECOMOG and UNOMIL personnel, as well as of all persons engaged in the delivery of humanitarian assistance. The Union also

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appreciated the reference to the importance of respect for human rights and to the need to rehabilitate the country's penitentiary system.

It was hoped that the easing of tensions would allow regular relief operations to take place throughout the country, he continued. Liberia's economy recovery should become the first priority in order to improve the living conditions of its population and to create a climate of greater stability. The European Union, as a whole, was by far the largest donor of assistance to Liberia since 1990. Its contributions would also help to rebuild Liberia's economic infrastructure so that the country might once again make full use of its natural resources for the benefit of its people.

LEGWAILA J.M.J. LEGWAILA (Botswana) said he was encouraged to learn that the government was determined to pursue the cause of peace and that it would not allow the unfortunate events of 28 December 1995 to derail the peace process. That position was reinforced by the fact that ECOMOG would stay the course in Liberia until durable peace was attained. That determination to succeed even in the face of adverse conditions should encourage the international community to assist ECOMOG in the implementation of the peace agreement, especially in the areas of demobilization and reintegration of former fighters into civilian life.

He went on to express the hope that the Liberian political leaders and parties would make concerted efforts to expedite the implementation of the peace agreement. The Liberian factions should desist from re-occupying positions and checkpoints which they had earlier abandoned in the course of the implementation of the peace agreement. Those unacceptable activities could only create distrust and mutual suspicions among the Liberian leaders and parties which could have undesirable consequences for the peace process. Further, the Liberian factions should urgently give ECOMOG security guarantees to enable it to carry out further deployments. He fully supported ECOMOG's decision not to continue with the deployments until the security of their troops is guaranteed.

The peace process in Liberia was at the crossroads, he continued. Free and fair elections could only be held in an atmosphere in which peace and stability prevailed and the safety and security of one and all was assured. It was up to them to create such conditions well in advance of the elections. The legislative and presidential elections must not be held in an atmosphere in which the people of Liberia could be threatened with dire consequences if they voted for a political party of their choice nor should those who lost at the ballot have the infrastructure to resort to the bullet.

NABIL A. ELARABY (Egypt) said the special meeting of the Council held last week to consider the Secretary-General's report on Liberia had

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demonstrated the international community's commitment to addressing the situation there. In extending the mandate of UNOMIL, the Council should encourage the parties in Liberia to implement the provisions of the Abuja Agreement. It was important to grant all necessary assistance to ECOMOG so that it might discharge its mission.

He called on all the Liberian factions and their leaders to ensure the demobilization and disarmament of combatants in order to facilitate their reintegration into the civilian community and to permit full deployment of the United Nations observers. He called for full cooperation with UNOMIL and the provision of security for its personnel. It was hoped that the interim report to be presented by the Secretary-General would reflect a positive momentum towards peace.

MAKARIM WIBISONO (Indonesia) said he had welcomed the convening last week of a formal open debate regarding the situation in Liberia, which provided the opportunity for the general membership to actively participate in the discussions of a question of which the Council was actively seized. It not only enhanced transparency in the work of the Council, but also permitted Council members to obtain valuable input from all interested parties, most importantly from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Liberia, necessary for taking the appropriate decision. He hoped that such arrangements would, in the future, be further encouraged.

He said he attached great significance to the submission of the draft resolution before the Council and deemed it critical for the peace process to move forward. In spite of the recent cease-fire violations and armed attacks against ECOMOG personnel and against civilians, he was still hopeful. He urged the Liberian leadership to see the extension of UNOMIL's mandate as an opportunity to strive for substantial progress on all outstanding issues of the peace process and to demonstrate genuine political will to get the peace process back on track, by abiding and implementing all the agreements and commitments they themselves had concluded. He hoped that within that period the Liberian leadership would demonstrate their respect towards the role of the international, regional and subregional organizations in the peace process.

It was imperative that the resolution convey to the parties in Liberia a clear and unequivocal message that support for the peace process by the international community could not continue indefinitely, he said. It would be contingent on the demonstrated commitment by the Liberian parties to resolve their differences peacefully and to achieve national reconciliation.

GERARDO MARTINEZ BLANCO (Honduras) expressed concern over the recent cease-fire violations in Liberia, the attacks on the ECOMOG forces and the

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delays in the disarmament and demobilization process. Those incidents were affecting fulfilment of the Abuja Agreement, which was essential to peace in Liberia. The leaders of the factions must demonstrate their commitment to the peace process, since the international community could not be expected to support that process indefinitely.

He said the security situation in Liberia would improve only if the factions respected the cease-fire, made clear progress towards disengagement, withdrew from the checkpoints, permitted humanitarian donors to carry out their work, cooperated with ECOMOG and UNOMIL and strictly respected the status of their personnel. In the expectation that they would do so, Honduras was supporting today's resolution.

MARIO LOPES DA R0SA (Guinea-Bissau) said that during the open meeting of the Council on the situation in Liberia he had expressed his Government's view. He would vote in favour of the draft resolution before the Council.

He said the slow implementation of the peace process was a source of major concern. The acts of hostility should immediately come to an end to permit ECOMOG and UNOMIL to carry out their arduous tasks. They and the humanitarian aid agencies should be strictly respected, in accordance with humanitarian law.

The Liberian parties should respect and implement all the agreements that had been reached, he said. That could greatly contribute to helping the international community contribute to the peace process in the country. He appealed to the international donor community to respect its pledges made at the pledging conference last October and to continue to give financial and other assistance to the personnel of ECOMOG and UNOMIL.

PARK SOO GIL (Republic of Korea) said his country commended the central role of ECOWAS in restoring peace and stability in Liberia and expressed its appreciation to the troop-contributing countries. He reiterated the importance of close cooperation and coordination among UNOMIL, ECOWAS and Member States concerned for the success of peace-keeping operations in Liberia. The support and assistance of Member States, including logistical and financial support, was essential for the success of ECOMOG's mission. "This three-way cooperation, in our view, sets and example applicable in dealing with other situations in Africa", he said.

He called upon all factions in Liberia to abide by their commitments to the peace process, as envisaged in the Abuja Agreement. While deploring the recent incident of renewed hostilities, his country looked forward to smooth progress in the disarmament and demobilization of combatants and their reintegration into civilian society. The international community could not

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replace the Liberian people's own efforts to achieve peace, national reconciliation and democracy. It was the people and leaders of Liberia themselves who were ultimately responsible for rebuilding a land of peace, liberty and prosperity.

Adoption of Draft Resolution

The Council unanimously adopted the draft resolution as resolution 1041 (1996).

Following adoption of the resolution, MADELEINE K. ALBRIGHT (United States) said her country supported extension of UNOMIL's mandate until 31 May. However, that support was not without reservations. The United States and the international community would not tolerate further delay. It was time to implement the key operational provisions of the Abuja Agreement -- getting the fighters to give up their weapons and rejoin society. As today's resolution made clear, there must be strict implementation of disarmament and demobilization, with no delays and no deviations from the Abjua Agreement.

The United States recognized the contribution that ECOMOG was making to stability in Liberia, she said. The ECOMOG commanders must deploy their forces as quickly as possible to help create the conditions necessary to promote the peace process. The Council of State must redouble its efforts to rapidly move the peace process forward.

She also commended the contributions and sacrifices being made by UNOMIL personnel in Liberia. The United States expected UNOMIL to follow through on all its responsibilities, including investigating and reporting on human rights abuses, major violations of international humanitarian law and humanitarian assistance activities. She urged UNOMIL and ECOMOG to maintain close operational contact to ensure that they could effectively accomplish their difficult missions.

The adoption of the resolution extending the UNOMIL mandate demonstrated the Council's commitment to restore peace, stability and the basic conditions for normal life to the Liberian people. However, that commitment demanded equal goodwill from the Liberian side. The United States would closely monitor implementation of the Abuja Agreement, which expressed Liberia's best chance to achieve peace and justice and was the key to continued international support.

STEFFEN RUDOLPH (Germany) said he had voted in favour of extending the mandate of UNOMIL until 31 May and associated itself fully with the statement given by Italy on behalf of the European Union. Liberia must make substantive progress in the peace process by the end of the present mandate. That should

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prove that the Abuja Agreement could be the lasting foundation for a peace settlement in Liberia. Germany remained extremely concerned at the lack of progress achieved in the implementation of the Abuja Agreement. "We were not able to observe any concrete steps during the last months." The parties in Liberia had fallen several months behind the agreed schedule. Furthermore, the recent outbreak of fighting was a sever setback to efforts undertaken by the international community to mediate the conflict.

The cessation of hostilities was essential for any measures of reconstruction and development by which the international community might help Liberia and its people to overcome the devastating consequences of the civil war, he said. The warring parties were called upon to make up for the delays already incurred in the peace process by 31 May. If there was no visible progress soon with regard to maintaining the cease-fire, disengagement of troops and disarmament, it would be difficult to support a further extension of UNOMIL's mandate. The warring parties would be responsible for that.

He said his country welcomed the fact that the factions represented in the Council of State seemed determined to adhere to the Abuja Agrement, and it urged them to exert the necessary control over their military forces. A wider deployment of ECOMOG throughout the country should be a necessary accompanying measures and would be an important stabilizing factor.

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For information media. Not an official record.