(Rapaport…October 29) The United Nations (UN) secretary general, Kofi Annan, recommends maintaining a presence in Liberia in a new report to the Security Council, the UN Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) reported today.
The Liberian government said it has complied with all council demands, according to the report. But some sources within the country said its security services have become home to fighters of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), which had tried to overthrow Sierra Leone. The UN has demanded that Liberia expel all members of the RUF.
The report also described “a reverse flow of indirect trade in diamonds from Liberia to neighbouring countries.” Sources said the Liberian government does not have any control over the diamond trade, although it collects taxes from concessions. It is not supposed to import rough from Sierra Leone. The report adds that “independent sources indicated that there was no proof of direct importation of rough diamonds to Liberia from Sierra Leone.”
It was not clear what impact the report would have on UN policy toward Liberia. But IRIN noted that Liberia’s reported expenditure of half its national budget on security and defense could hinder international aid efforts and extend the government’s conflict with rebel forces.