December 2007 Monthly Forecast

Posted 29 November 2007
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AFRICA

Liberia

Expected Council Action
The Council is likely to renew the sanctions regime (arms and travel embargo and assets freeze) imposed by resolutions 1521 and 1731, due to expire on 20 December. The Liberia Sanctions Committee is expected to receive the report of the Panel of Experts by 6 December, which is likely to assist in deliberations on these issues as well as renewal of the Panel’s mandate which also expires on 20 December. It is unclear whether the Council will also take up outstanding issues relating to review of the diamonds sanctions which were lifted in April.

Recent Developments
On 20 September, the Council adopted resolution 1777 extending the mandate of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) until 30 September 2008 and reaffirmed its intention to authorise, when necessary, the Secretary-General to redeploy troops between UNMIL and the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire on a temporary basis. It also endorsed the Secretary-General’s recommendations for the drawdown of UNMIL. (For more on the issue of the drawdown of UNMIL see the September Forecast.)

On 4 October, the Secretary-General declared Liberia as the fifth country to become eligible for the UN Peacebuilding Fund. He instructed UNMIL to commence consultations with the Liberian government and local civil society partners to prepare a priority plan. The Fund was set up last year to assist countries emerging from conflict to consolidate peace and prevent their relapse into war.

The International Monetary Fund indicated in mid-November that it was prepared to begin cancelling Liberia’s debt after sufficient funds had been secured for the process of debt cancellation. It said the process would commence once pledges, totalling $842 million, had been honoured by donor nations.

Key Issues
The key issues for the Council in December are the renewal of the remaining sanctions and a possible review of the diamonds embargo. A related key issue is how and when to address Liberia’s peacebuilding needs.

Options
Options for the Council include:

  • simple renewal of the current sanctions regime;
  • reviewing the impact of lifting diamond sanctions, especially in light of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) report and the Panel of Experts’ report;
  • adopting a press or presidential statement on the Kimberley Process report with the Council’s comments on the country’s level of compliance with the KPCS, or incorporating this element in a resolution; and
  • signaling an intention to pay wider attention to Liberia’s peacebuilding needs.

Council Dynamics
Council members remain mindful of the fragile stability in the country and appear likely to retain the arms embargo as well as the travel and assets freeze. Some members may also want to review the Kimberley Process report, in conjunction with the upcoming report of the Panel of Experts, to assess progress and challenges in Liberian compliance with the KPCS. Members are not yet certain about the renewal of the Panel mandate since this largely will also depend on the contents of its report.

The US and African members of the Council have shared the lead on the issue of Liberia.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1777 (20 September 2007) renewed the mandate of UNMIL and endorsed the Secretary-General’s recommendations for the mission’s drawdown.
  • S/RES/1760 (20 June 2007) renewed the mandate of the Panel of Experts on Liberia.
  • S/RES/1753 (27 April 2007) lifted the diamonds embargo and decided to review this decision after receiving reports from the Panel of Experts and KPCS.
  • S/RES/1750 (30 March 2007) renewed UNMIL until 30 September and requested detailed drawdown plans.
  • S/RES/1731 (20 December 2006) renewed sanctions.
  • S/RES/1532 (12 March 2004) imposed an assets freeze against former President Charles Taylor and associates.
  • S/RES/1521 (22 December 2003) imposed sanctions.
  • S/RES/1509 (19 September 2003) established UNMIL.

Selected Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2007/479 (8 August 2007) was the latest UNMIL report.
  • S/2007/143 (13 March 2007) was a report on cross-border issues in West Africa.

Other

  • S/2007/547 (14 September 2007) was the letter from the chairman of the Liberia Sanctions committee conveying the two letters constituting the report of the KPCS to the Council.
  • S/2007/340 (24 May 2007) was the latest report of the Panel of Experts on Liberia.
  • S/2006/1044 (28 December 2006) was the latest Sanctions Committee report.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General
Alan Doss (UK), to be succeeded by Ellen Løj (Denmark)
UNMIL: Size, Composition and Cost
• Total authorised strength: 15,125 military and 1, 240 police
• Strength as of 31 October 2007: 13,528 military and 1,172 police
• Key contributing countries: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Pakistan
• Cost: 1 July 2006 – 30 June 2007: $745.57 million
UNMIL: Duration
September 2003 to present; mandate expires 30 September 2008.
Chairman of the Sanctions Committee
Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser (Qatar)

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