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Freed like birds

Sanction lifted ND-As US lifts sanctions, Urey optimistic

The United States Government has lifted a decade long economic sanction against Liberia, which specifically target jailed ex-President Charles Taylor and his allies including businessman turned politician Benoni Urey.

The sanction was imposed some 11 years ago by former U.S. President George W. Bush against Taylor and his cronies as penalties. They were meant to deprive he and his allies of funding and arms for conflicts here. The measure included travel bans and freezing of assets.

Ex-president Taylor is currently serving a 50-year jail sentence in a maximum security prison in the United Kingdom for war crimes committed in neighboring Sierra Leone, while many of his allies have moved on into their private lives, among them Mr. Urey who is poised to contest the 2017 presidential election.

U.S. President Barack Obama signed an executive order Thursday November 12 removing the sanction imposed on Taylor and his men. In his letter notifying the U.S. Congress, President Obama said, “The situation that gave rise to this national emergency has been significantly altered by Liberia’s advances to promote democracy.”

President Obama also stated that Taylor’s imprisonment meant that sanctions were no longer necessary. He said Taylor and his cronies now had a “diminished  ability” to “undermine Liberia’s progress”.

“The United States congratulates the people of Liberia for their determination, ingenuity and commitment to peace and democracy that has made this possible,”  the White House’s National Security Council (NSC) spokesperson Ned Price was quoted to have said in a statement Thursday.

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“Liberia has worked to overcome not only the scars of war, but also the challenge of responding to an unprecedented outbreak of Ebola,” Price added. Meanwhile in a statement issued over the weekend by Mr. Urey of the All Liberian Party or ALP, he describes the lifting of the sanction as the beginning of a new chapter in moving the country forward.

He said now that the sanction has been officially lifted , this will pave the way for expected additional investments here. Urey who appears to be sighting a great relief by the lifting of the sanction adds “…this move now provides the perfect opportunity for all Liberians to travel around the world without fear or restrictions.

He, however, warned against certain Liberians using state resources for the sole purpose of spreading concocted lies about their fellow compatriots to the international community, something he describes as “despicable”.

The sanction had restricted Urey from traveling to the U.S. and other places, something which had earlier cast doubt over his candidacy with many Liberians being skeptical of joining his ALP. The news of the termination of the sanction was greeted with jubilations from supporters and sympathizers of Mr. Urey on Friday night at his residence. They believe that the lifting of the sanction brightens his chances for the Executive Mansion in 2017. -written by Othello B. Garblah with additional files.

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