Following is today's press statement on Liberia by Security Council President Jean-Marc de La Sablière:
Members of the Council heard a briefing by Youssef Mahmoud, Director, Africa II Division, and discussed the situation in Liberia.
Members of the Council expressed regrets that the Government of Liberia did not respond to the proposals of the Secretary-General for a revised mandate for the United Nations Office in Liberia, and urged it to do so as soon as possible.
Members of the Council called on the Government of Liberia and the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) to work to bring the armed conflict to an end through dialogue, and to create the security conditions necessary for inclusive, peaceful and free legislative and presidential elections, including a ceasefire to guarantee safety for all. In this respect, they welcomed the outcome of the first meeting of the International Contact Group held in Dakar on 19 December 2002. They expressed their concern regarding human rights in the country and called upon the Government of Liberia and the LURD to ensure that humanitarian aid workers are allowed free access to displaced civilians and refugees.
Members of the Council called on the Government of Liberia to create the conditions for free, fair and transparent legislative and presidential elections, and allow international observers to monitor the electoral process.
Members of the Council called on the Government of Liberia to commit to building peace in the region, including through full compliance with relevant Security Council resolutions and full restoration and normalization of its relations with its neighbours and the international community.