The U.S. government also trained and financed ECOWAS troops from Nigeria, Mali and Senegal to deploy to Liberia, until they were quickly converted into a U.N. peacekeeping force with a mandate to protect civilians and secure the countryside. Ultimately, up to 15,000 multinational U.N. peacekeepers were critical for the success of Liberia's peace process and democratic elections that ushered into office Africa's first elected female head of state, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in January 2006.
Finally, and most important, President Bush and his national security adviser Condoleezza Rice made Liberia a priority. For eight years the Bush administration invested the necessary attention, energy and diplomatic and financial resources to implement a comprehensive strategy in Liberia and the region.
Justice and State Department lawyers advised the U.N. and the government of Sierra Leone on the design of the Special Court, an innovative hybrid international court established in 2002. U.S. diplomats led the charge at the U.N. to place comprehensive sanctions on Liberia, including an arms embargo, a ban on timber and diamonds and travel restrictions on senior Liberian officials.