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Volume 405: debated on Tuesday 20 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what assessment his Department has made of the role of the Liberian timber trade in supporting Charles Taylor's regime; [112733]

(2) if he will support sanctions on Liberian timber exports [12735]

The UK supports sanctions on Liberian timber exports. We were therefore pleased that on 7 May 2003 the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1478 (2003) unanimously. The resolution renewed and extended sanctions against Liberia. The Council added a new ban on all timber sales from Liberia. This will deprive the Government of Liberia of their revenue used to fund arms purchases. The ban will come into effect on 7 July 2003.We continue to call on all countries to respect the sanctions imposed on Liberia.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government is taking (a) to bring peace and better governance to Liberia and (b) to end Liberian efforts to destabilise Sierra Leone and other countries. [113640]

The UK is committed to helping restore peace and good governance to the Mano River sub-region.With the International Contact group on Liberia we are working with the key regional actors to bring about a comprehensive ceasefire and peace process. This is mediated by the former Nigerian head of state General Abdulsalami Abubakar. The most recent Contact Group meeting took place in Brussels on 12 May.On 6 May 2003 the UK, with other UN Security Council members, supported United Nations Security Council resolution 1478 (2003). This rolled over the previous resolutions, maintaining and strengthening the sanctions imposed against Liberia for its destabilising role in the sub-region, including Sierra Leone. The resolution added a ban on all timber products from Liberia and strengthened the travel ban to include members of the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy and other armed rebel groups known to be in breach of the arms embargo.We continue to call on all countries to enforce the sanctions vigorously.