What's In Blue

Liberia Sanctions Adoption, Consultations and UNMIL TCC Meeting

Tomorrow (9 December), the Council is scheduled to adopt a resolution renewing sanctions measures on Liberia, which are due to expire on 12 December. The draft resolution was put in blue on 3 December, following one meeting at the expert level. Earlier today, Council members held consultations on Liberia sanctions where the final report of the Panel of Experts (PoE) transmitted to the Council on 19 November (S/2014/831) was discussed. Tomorrow afternoon, Council is also scheduled to hold a meeting with troop-contributing-countries (TCCs) for the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

Sanctions Consultations and Resolution

Negotiations on the draft resolution, which essentially constitutes a technical rollover as recommended in the Secretary-General’s letter of 29 September (S/2014/707), were uncontroversial. The draft resolution renews for a period of nine months the arms embargo on Liberia, which was first imposed with resolution 1521 in 2003 and was modified to become a partial arms embargo on non-state actors with resolution 1903 in 2009. It also renews for nine months the targeted travel ban initially imposed with resolution 1521. The draft resolution further reaffirms the asset freeze on former president Charles Taylor, his family and associates imposed by resolution 1532 in 2004, which is not time-limited. The draft resolution also renews the mandate of the PoE for a period of ten months, with an update to the Committee due no later than 23 April and a final report due by 1 August.

The draft resolution identifies two specific areas which remain a problem in Liberia: the proper management of arms and ammunition by the Liberian government, including enacting a necessary legislative framework, and effective monitoring and management of the border regions between Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire. These recurring issues had been previously highlighted in the Secretary-General’s assessment of the Liberia sanctions regime conveyed to the Council on 29 September and in the final report of the PoE (as well as previous PoE reports). The draft resolution requests the Secretary-General to provide an update to the Council by 1 August on progress made by the government of Liberia with regard to arms and ammunition management and border control.

The draft resolution also explicitly signals the Council’s intent to keep the sanctions regime under review in order to modify or lift all or part of the measures, dependent upon Liberia’s progress toward meeting the criteria established in resolution 1521 and in light of the current threat to peace and security posed by the Ebola virus. (The criteria established by the Council for termination of the travel ban and arms embargo include a cease-fire, DDR and SSR, implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and making progress toward stability.) In other words, Ebola’s impact on stability in Liberia has been recognised as an additional factor for future Council decisions regarding the modification or termination of sanctions.

Earlier today, Council members held consultations on Liberia sanctions. As the draft resolution had been put in blue last week, the meeting largely focused on the final report of the PoE. In particular, Council members discussed the recommendations concerning related to the following issues: measures for better management of arms and ammunition by the government of Liberia; a role for UNMIL in government capacity building on sanctions implementation, human rights and civil-military relations, border control and criminal investigations; and enhanced coordination and information sharing among the governments of Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire and the UN missions in the two countries for the purposes of improved border controls. The PoE’s recommendations, which need to be adopted by consensus, are still being discussed by the Committee.


The meeting tomorrow provides an opportunity for UNMIL TCCs to provide input prior to an adoption scheduled for 18 December renewing the peacekeeping operation’s mandate. Due to the uncertainty caused by the Ebola outbreak, the Council last renewed UNMIL’s mandate on 15 September with resolution 2176 for an interim period up to 31 December. It requested an update from the Secretary-General by 15 November and also expressed its intention to further extend UNMIL’s mandate to 30 September 2015. On 12 November, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous and Ambassador Per Thöresson (Sweden), representative of the chair of the Liberia configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission briefed the Council (S/PV.7310). Ladsous recommended deferring consideration of a drawdown of troops and police from UNMIL until the Ebola crisis has ended. Tomorrow, TCC representatives are likely to be interested in how UNMIL’s mandate may be modified due to the Ebola outbreak and what implications this may have for their personnel.

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