"SECURITY COUNCIL COMMITTEE ESTABLISHED BY RESOLUTION 1132 (1997) CONCERNING SIERRA LEONE"
Statement by Ambassador Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg
Permanent Representative of Brazil to the UN
 New York, December 19, 2005

 

 

Mr. President,

Following the military coup of May 1997 the Security Council determined that the situation in Sierra Leone constituted a threat to international peace and security and in October 1997, by resolution 1132, it imposed an embargo on the supply of arms, petroleum and related products to Sierra Leone. A travel ban was also imposed on members of the military junta and relatives.  

 In March 1998, by resolution 1156, the Council lifted the oil embargo and, by its resolution 1171 (1998) of June 1998, it confirmed the removal of sanctions on the Government and reimposed the embargo on arms to Sierra Leone other than to the Government, as well as the travel ban on leading members of the Revolutionary United Front and of the former military junta.

 On July 2000, by resolution 1306, the Security Council imposed an embargo on rough diamonds from Sierra Leone for 18 months, except those controlled by the Government of Sierra Leone through the certificate of origin regime. In 2001 the Council’s measures regarding the import of rough diamonds from Sierra Leone were extended for 11 months by resolution 1385 and for a further  6 months in 2002, by resolution 1446.

 Subsequently, in light of Sierra Leone’s full participation in the Kimberly Process the Council decided that the Government was able to ensure proper control over diamond mining areas and signaled its intention not to renew the import of rough diamonds from the country. This was done through a Press Statement (SC/7778) on June 2003.

 I was appointed Chairman of the 1132 Sanctions Committee for Sierra Leone for 2004-2005. Only the arms embargo and travel restrictions remain in force. Following consultations within the Committee in two occasions, some eighteen names of individuals affected by sanctions were removed from the list and its last revised version was published in September 2004. 

 During Brazil’s two-year term, we have consulted with members of the Committee and of the Security Council also on the need to streamline the legal basis for sanctions in Sierra Leone. This has not been discussed in detail within  the Committee, as it is primarily a matter for the Security Council and the Committee has also recognized the need to safeguard the sensitive work of the Special Court.

 In  our view, the expertise of the sanctions committees should feed into  the  Council's  decision-making process in appropriate ways. There are often overlaps in the responsibilities of sanctions committees and the Council and they should be handled with some degree of flexibility, while recognizing that it is solely the Council that is responsible for decisions related to the actual scope and design of sanctions. 

 In his twenty-seventh report on the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) (S/2005/777), that the Council will consider tomorrow, the Secretary-General indicates that over its six years of operation, the mission has forged effective partnerships and placed Sierra Leone “on a firm path to post-conflict recovery”.

 The Government has made further progress towards consolidating constitutional order and assuming full responsibility for the maintenance of security in the country. In spite of the challenges still presented by many root causes of the conflict in Sierra Leone and its fragile socio-economic situation, we trust the prevailing stable environment will allow for increasing international involvement and long-term sustainable peace dividends. The presence of the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) from 1 January 2006 will greatly contribute to that result.

 In that context, it is my view that as UNAMSIL completes its draw down, the Security Council may soon start reviewing the Sierra Leone sanctions regime with a view to updating its legal basis, streamlining and updating the measures currently in place, as well as the Committee’s mandate. Consultations within the Sanctions Committee and with the Government of Sierra Leone will contribute to that end.

 As Brazil comes close to the end of its tenure in the Security Council and as Chairman of the 1132 Sanctions Committee, let me thank through you, Mr. President, the fellow permanent representatives of Algeria, who served as vice-chairman of the Committee during these two years, and of Argentina in the current year and of Pakistan in 2004.

 I cannot conclude without extending my appreciation for the members of the Secretariat who have assisted us in this task, in particular the Secretary of the Committee, Mr. James Sutterlin, whose readiness to assist and experience in the subject-matter have been an essential asset in the work of the Committee.

 Thank you very much.