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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 23, 2001
To the Congress of the United States
Pursuant to section 204(b) of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, 50 U.S.C. 1703(b) (IEEPA), and section 301 of the National Emergencies Act, 50 U.S.C. 1631, I hereby report that I have exercised my statutory authority to expand the scope of an existing national emergency in response to the unusual and extraordinary threat posed to the foreign policy of the United States by the Government of Liberia's complicity in the illicit trade in diamonds from Sierra Leone by the insurgent Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone (RUF) and by the Government of Liberia's other forms of support for the RUF. I also have exercised my statutory authority to issue an Executive Order that prohibits the importation into the United States of all rough diamonds from Liberia, whether or not such diamonds originated in Liberia. These actions are mandated in part by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1343 of March 7, 2001.
The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is authorized to issue regulations in exercise of my authorities under the IEEPA and the United Nations Participation Act, 22 U.S.C. 287c, to implement this prohibition. All Federal agencies are also directed to take actions within their authority to carry out the provisions of the Executive Order.
I am enclosing a copy of the Executive Order I have issued. The Order was effective at 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on May 23, 2001.
I have authorized these measures in furtherance of Executive Order 13194 of January 18, 2001, and in response to the Government of Liberia's continuing facilitation of and participation in the RUF's illicit trade in diamonds from Sierra Leone and its other forms of support for the RUF. The Government of Liberia's actions in this regard constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States because they directly challenge United States foreign policy objectives in the region and the rule-based international order that is crucial to the peace and prosperity of the United States.
In Executive Order 13194, President Clinton responded to the RUF's illicit arms-for-diamonds trade that fuels the brutal, decade-long civil war in Sierra Leone by declaring a national emergency and, consistent with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1306, by prohibiting the importation into the United States of all rough diamonds from Sierra Leone except for those importa-tions controlled through the certificate of origin regime of the Government of Sierra Leone. In a report issued on December 14, 2000, the United Nations Panel of Experts established pursuant to resolution 1306 found that diamonds represent a major and primary source of income for the RUF to sustain and advance its military activities; that the bulk of the RUF diamonds leaves Sierra Leone through Liberia; and that such illicit trade cannot be conducted without the permission and involvement of Liberian government officials at the highest levels. The Panel recommended, among other things, a complete embargo on all diamonds from Liberia until Liberia demonstrates convincingly that it is no longer involved in the trafficking of arms to, or diamonds from, Sierra Leone.
On March 7, 2001, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1343 to impose sanctions against the Government of Liberia. The resolution determined that the Government of Liberia's active support for the RUF in Sierra Leone and other armed rebel groups in neighboring countries constitutes a threat to international peace and security in the region and decided that all states shall impose an immediate arms embargo on Liberia and also shall impose travel and diamond bans on Liberia on May 7, 2001, unless the Council determined before that date that the Government of Liberia had ceased its support for the RUF and for other armed rebel groups and, in particular, had taken a number of concrete steps identified in the resolution. In furtherance of this resolution, the Secretaries of State, Commerce, and Defense have taken steps, under their respective authorities, to implement the arms embargo.
With regard to the travel ban and diamond embargo, the Government of Liberia has failed, notwithstanding the two-month implementation period granted by resolution 1343, to honor its commitments to cease its support for the RUF and other armed rebel groups. As a result, the Security Council did not determine that Liberia has complied with the demands of the Council.
In Proclamation 7359 of October 10, 2000, President Clinton suspended the entry as immigrants and nonimmigrants of persons who plan, engage in, or benefit from activities that support the RUF or that otherwise impede the peace process in Sierra Leone. The application of that Proclamation implements the travel ban imposed by resolution 1343.
Finally, for the reasons discussed above and in the enclosed Executive Order, I also have found that the Government of Liberia's continuing facilitation of and participation in the RUF's illicit trade in diamonds from Sierra Leone and its other forms of support for the RUF contribute to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States described in Executive Order 13194 with respect to which the President declared a national emergency. In order to deal with that threat, and consistent with resolution 1343 and this finding, I have taken action to prohibit the importation into the United States of all rough diamonds from Liberia, whether or not such diamonds originated there, in order to contribute to the international effort to bring a prompt end to the illicit arms-for-diamonds trade by which the RUF perpetuates the tragic conflict in Sierra Leone. This action, as well as those discussed above, also expresses our outrage at the Government of Liberia's ongoing contribution to human suffering in Sierra Leone and other neighboring countries, as well as its continuing failure to abide by international norms and the rule of law.
GEORGE W. BUSH
The White House, May 23, 2001.