Monrovia- Liberia (PANA) -- An eight-man Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mission to verify Liberia's compliance with conditions set by the UN sanctions committee Friday began holding talks with Liberian officials here as part of their visit to the country.
In a statement welcoming the mission, Foreign Minister Monie Captan said that from the beginning Liberia has been requesting the ECOWAS and UN to send monitors to verify Liberia's compliance with the UN Security Council demands to avert sanctions.
In March the UN Security Council stayed the imposition of sanctions on Liberia following a plea from ECOWAS for Liberia to be given 60 days to address concerns of the Security Council.
The deadline expires 7 May.
The security council alleges Liberia is involved in gun- running and diamond smuggling with rebels of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone that has been fuelling war in that country for a decade.
Liberia denies this.
But a panel of experts' report found Liberia culpable and the Security Council opted to impose a ban on the sale of diamonds from Liberia and on the travel of Liberian officials.
There is also a longstanding arms embargo on Liberia.
Captan, who is chairman of the government task force set up to meet the UN demands, told the ECOWAS mission he was optimistic Liberia has complied with the security council resolution 1343 (2001).
He urged the ECOWAS delegation to "feel free to ask questions and request to be taken anywhere you wish to go to enhance your work.
" The ECOWAS head of delegation, Col.
Dikio of the ECOWAS secretariat, thanked Captan for the detailed briefing and said the mandate of the mission was clear.
Dikio said all information provided by the Liberian government would be studied closely and with an open exchange of views.
Two days ago, a similar mission was undertaken by the UN Security Council committee on sanctions which visit Liberia as part of a regional tour that took it to Mali, Guinea, Sierra Leone and later to Nigeria.