By Ashley Bailey
, Tuesday, July 25, 2006
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia says her country does not deserve continued United Nations-imposed diamond sanctions.
The U.N. Security Council first imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Liberia in May of 2001, after reports that the West African country’s natural resources were fueling conflict in the region. On June 20, 2006 the United Nations lifted Liberia sanctions on timber, but diamond sanctions were extended.
President Sirleaf maintains that her country is addressing all concerns related to these sanctions and has made great strides in conflict-free diamond development initiatives. Her comments were made during a three-day "diamonds for development" event hosted by Liberia's ministry of mines and energy. Allafrica.com reports that Aliou Diallo of the Mano River Union and Dan Smith of International Alert were among speakers at the event who challenged Liberia to adopt measures to bolster her economy with the resources of her diamond industry.
In New York, U.N. Secretary general Kofi Annan reappointed the panel of experts who assess the impact of diamond sanctions on Liberia on June 29. Arthur Blundell of Canada serves as the chairman of the panel which includes four members from France, India, Sierra Leone, and the United Kingdom. The panel's assessments will be in effect through December 21, 2006.