There is a critical need for further international action to end the civil war in Liberia – and to halt the spread of chaos beyond its borders that has both inflamed the Côte d’Ivoire crisis and threatens wider military conflict and humanitarian disaster in much of West Africa. The key mechanism in this respect is the International Contact Group on Liberia (hereafter Contact Group), established in September 2002. And the central players within that body, whose cooperation is essential if effective action is to be taken, are its three permanent members of the Security Council: the U.S., UK and France.