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Vol 42 No 22

Published 9th November 2001


Liberia

Old habits die hard

A damning new UN report accuses Charles Taylor's regime of keeping ties with the RUF and busting sanctions

Against all tradition, President Charles Taylor has turned taciturn. He and his advisors have made almost no denial of or other reaction to a long list of serious and well-documented allegations in the United Nations Panel of Experts' Report on Liberia, published on 26 October(1). The Report revealed that the government was still getting weapons, that it had not expelled Sierra Leone's rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF, AC Vol 42 No 16) and that some of its officials had violated the UN travel ban. It also showed some progress on cleaning up abuse of the Liberian aviation registry and suggested that the ban on diamond exports might be lifted if Monrovia introduced a 'credible and verifiable' system of certificates of origin. Taylor's Spokesman Reginald Goodridge restricted himself to a searing condemnation of a Washington Post article linking Taylor and the RUF's diamond mining operations in rebel-held Sierra Leone to Al Qaida. Apart from being a 'preposterous' tale, the Post article was a crude attempt to swing the UN sanctions debate against Liberia, Goodridge insisted. Foreign Minister Moni Captan has kept public comment to a minimum through his sanctions task force, which includes Defence Minister Daniel Chea, Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy Jenkins Dunbar and the Governor of the Central Bank, Mohamed Selebi. Only the emotional Commissioner of Maritime Affairs, Benoni Urey, has broken ranks.

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