Obama ends 11-year-old national emergency against former Liberian president

WASHINGTON — President Obama has declared 11 new states of national emergency during his presidency, expanded one, and continued 21 more declared by his predecessors.

Thursday, for just the third time, he took the rare step of terminating one of those emergencies.

Obama signed an executive order rescinding the state of emergency first declared by President George W. Bush in 2004 to freeze the assets of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.

In 2012, Taylor became the first head of state since World War II to be convicted of war crimes after an international court convicted him of aiding Sierra Leone rebels, who used child soldiers in a campaign of campaign of murder, rape and torture.

The executive order revoking the emergency has the effect of lifting sanctions against 12 people, including Taylor, his son, former cabinet ministers and other associates.

"I have determined that the situation that gave rise to this national emergency has been significantly altered by Liberia's advances to promote democracy and the orderly development of its political, administrative, and economic institutions," Obama said in a notification letter to Congress.

It was just the third time in nearly seven years that Obama has terminated a state of national emergency under the National Emergencies Act — an extraordinary tool presidents since Carter have used to wage war, impose sanctions, and even deal with a flu pandemic. READ MORE OF THIS ON USA TODAY

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