6 December 2012

Liberia: Border Insecurity Worries UN

The Security Council has expressed serious concerns about insecurity at the border between Liberia and Ivory Coast and the Council is contemplating on maintaining the arms embargo on Liberia.

The Council in its December 2012 report said "As a result of this anxiety, the Council is likely to maintain the arms embargo on Liberia, as well as renew the mandate of the Panel of Experts (PoE) monitoring the movement of arms in the region."

The report: "Council members are particularly worried by the easy movement of arms and militias across the borders of Liberia and other countries adjacent to Côte d'Ivoire, especially in light of the fragility of most of the countries in the region-- including Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Agreement on the need for travel bans and asset freezes is more uncertain. The Council has been worried about violations of these measures, in some cases with the apparent complicity of the Liberian government. Since these measures were designed to protect the government and the Liberian state, some Council members have tended to conclude that they are probably obsolete.

The progressive delisting of individuals in Liberia from both the travel ban and asset freeze lists, moreover, indicates that the measures may no longer be relevant or effective, and some Council members appear to be keen on dropping them.

There is also a view among some Council members that dropping these measures, which mainly affect people who are part of the political opposition in a country that has now conducted two democratic national elections since the war ended, would help promote reconciliation.

Council members appear concerned about this issue, particularly after the Secretary-General's special report sharply criticised the Johnson Sirleaf government for shortcomings in the areas of governance and reconciliation, both of which bear directly on security."

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