Security Council extends diamond sanctions against Liberia lifts timber ban

The United Nations Security Council today extended sanctions aimed at preventing Liberia from exporting rough diamonds, saying the situation in the West African country continues to pose a threat to international peace, but lifted the ban on the export of round logs and timber as it applauded the country’s new President for her efforts in managing the nation’s forests.Voting unanimously, the Council renewed for six months the sanctions that call on Member States to prevent the direct or indirect import of all rough diamonds from Liberia, regardless of whether such diamonds originated there, in order to allow the Government to set up an “effective Certificate of Origin” regime for such trade.Turning to the country’s forestry resources, the Council applauded the Government’s “commitment to transparent management” of the sector “for the benefit of Liberians” and also President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s recent announcement of a moratorium on timber exports and new concessions, pending the passage of appropriate forestry legislation.“The Security Council…decides not to renew the measure…that obligates Member States to prevent the import into their territories of all round log and timber products originating in Liberia,” the resolution states, adding that the 15 members also urge the “speedy adoption” of such forestry legislation. It will review this decision after 90 days.The Council also requested that Secretary-General Kofi Annan renew for an additional six months the mandate of the Panel of Experts that was appointed in July 2005 to assess the implementation and impact of the sanctions regime in Liberia.The Council first imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Liberia in May 2001 after receiving reports that the West African country’s natural resources were fuelling conflict in the region. read more