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UN votes to end final sanctions, arms embargo against Liberia

The UN Security Council has lifted sanctions and an arms embargo on the West African nation of Liberia. The decision follows decades of conflict and political instability.

The Security Council agreed unanimously on Wednesday to dissolve both its Liberia sanctions committee and the panel of experts responsible for monitoring the implementation of the arms embargo, citing the country's "sustained progress" in implementing reforms.

"Targeted sanctions in the context of Liberia have been very constructive," said the country's charge d'affaires, George Patten.

The UN first implemented an arms embargo on Liberia in 1992, four years after former President Charles Taylor launched a civil war that lasted until 2003. The arms embargo in its current form was implemented following the end of the conflict in an effort to support a peace deal. Some 250,000 people died in the war.

'Significant progress'

The Security Council lifted a travel ban on the country last year. The UN will also wind down its peacekeeping mission in the country, gradually handing over the reins to Liberian security forces.

The UN's move follows a similar decision by the US

to lift sanctions on Liberia in November

.

The move demonstrates the "significant progress made by Liberia and the sub-region in maintaining stability," according to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Taylor

was sentenced in 2012 to 50 years in prison

for his role in the violence during the civil war.

blc/sms (AFP, Reuters)

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