LIBERIA blasts United Nations for imposing sanctions

Sunday, May 6th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ONROVIA, Liberia (AP) _ Liberian President Charles Taylor lashed out against the United Nations for imposing sanctions against his West African nation, calling the move ``unjust and unfair.''

The U.N. Security Council imposed the sanctions Friday to punish Liberia for failing to sever its ties with rebels in neighboring Sierra Leone.

The sanctions, due to go into effect on May 7, will prevent Liberian officials and their spouses from traveling overseas and ban diamond imports from Liberia _ a major source of funding for the rebel movement.

``The world should know that these actions against us are unjust,'' Taylor said Saturday in Monrovia.

``The Liberian people must know that we have done everything, that we have complied fully. But nothing was done by the international community to verify that we were in compliance.''

The Security Council on March 7 gave Liberia two months to cut off support to Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front, which has brutally maimed, mutilated and murdered tens of thousands of civilians over the last decade.

The Liberian government says it has met all of the United Nations' conditions _ closing RUF offices, expelling RUF members and freezing rebel assets. It also grounded all Liberian-registered aircraft and put a four-month ban on the import of all diamonds without proper certification.

Taylor held three hours of talks in the Togolese capital Lome on Saturday with Organization of African Unity Chairman Gnassingbe Eyadema.

The Liberian president said he planned to put the matter officially before the OAU ``to prove that the decision is grossly unfair.''

U.N. officials say the sanctions are aimed at the country's leaders, and are not designed to worsen the humanitarian situation.