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Map of Liberia

Eight years of civil strife were brought to a close in 1997 when free and open presidential and legislative elections were held. President TAYLOR now holds strong executive power with no real political opposition. Years of fighting, coupled with the flight of most businesses, have disrupted formal economic activity. A still unsettled domestic security situation has slowed the process of rebuilding the social and economic structure of this war-torn country. In 2001, the UN imposed sanctions on Liberian diamonds, along with an arms embargo and a travel ban on government officials, for Liberia's support of the rebel insurgency in Sierra Leone. Renewed rebel activity has further eroded stability and economic activity. A regional peace initiative commenced in the spring of 2003 but was disrupted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) indictment of President TAYLOR on war crimes charges.