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Ivory Coast

Volume 401: debated on Tuesday 18 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the impact of the Liberian Government on instability in the Ivory Coast. [102940]

Liberian involvement in Cote d'Ivoire has contributed significantly to instability in the west of the country. The nature of Liberian involvement is complex, with reports of Liberians fighting for both sides. Liberia is used as a base by rebels fighting in the West of Cote d'Ivoire, and there are large numbers of Liberian mercenaries fighting for both sides. We remain concerned at the ease with which armed groups move between the two countries. We are also concerned about the plight of over 40,000 Liberian refugees in the region.While we do not have a full picture of the role played by the Liberian Government in Cote d'Ivoire it is clear that it continues to ignore UN Security Council demands by sponsoring armed groups in the region. Our objective remains to contain these activities by maintaining effective UN sanctions against Liberia.