Speaker George S. Dweh says the International Community has failed in Liberia….

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

May 26, 2004

The speaker of the National Transitional Government of Liberia, Mr. George Dweh says the international has failed in Liberia. Mr. Dweh whose warring faction, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) is party to the Accra Accord that ended the Liberian civil war, was speaking in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire where he met with the President of the National Assembly of that country, Mr. Mamadou Coulibaly. Mr. Coulibaly is a member of President Laurent Gbagbo's party the FPI. The government of Gabgbo is said to be a major sponsor of the other Liberian faction, MODEL, a splinter-group from LURD. Mr. Dweh accuses the international community for failing to provide incentives for the fighters in order to entice them to disarm. He also indicated that the Liberian fighters are now crossing the Ivorian border to hide their weapons. Mr. Dweh’s statements were published by Fraternité Matin, a major newspaper in the Ivorian capital last week.

The President of the national Assembly of Cote d'Ivoire, Mr. Mamadou Coulibaly met with his colleague from Liberia. During a press conference, they spoke of the necessity of a global approach to the security problems plaguing the sub-region. The two parliamentarians have therefore proposed to convene a sub-regional legislative meeting on June 9 -10 in Abidjan. They expect neighboring countries, Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Sierra Leone to take part in the conference.

At the closing of a 72 hour-working session, Professor Mamadou Koulibaly, President of the National Assembly of Cote d'Ivoire and his host, H. E. George S. Dweh, held a joint press conference. The main issue discussed by the two delegations was to adopt a common policy to guarantee peace, stability and sustainable development in the sub-region. Mrs. Battu Dorley, Chairman of the Commission on Health, Women and Refugees, accompanied Mr. Dweh. Talks between the two delegations centered around security issues in Africa in general and in the sub region in particular the initiative to convene a regional parliamentarian meeting.

Fielding question from the press, the Liberian Speaker said: "only the people can make peace." He added: "it was up to intellectuals and the other people to make peace. It is up to us to make peace, because the international community has failed in its peace mission." Mr. Dweh further said: "the international community did not keep its promises. They adopted the principle of encampment but the conditions for a real encampment were never fulfilled. There are not enough encampment sites. They’re no logistics for the sites and there is no reintegration package for former combatants.

Mr. George S. Dweh added that the Liberian assembly is still very young and has no solid foundations and does not have a veritable constitution to work with but said that the legislators are doing what they can to respond to the expectations of the people. He said there was a national DDRR commission. Mr. Dweh said that the belligerents are ready to disarm but complained: "there is no concrete road map. Therefore the rebels refuse to disarm and those who oppose disarmament threaten those who accept to be disarmed.

"Mr. Dweh also said some Liberian rebels now cross the border to hide their weapons in Cote d'Ivoire, taking advantage of cross-border family ties and they could bring these weapons out after the official deadline for disarmament. According to Mr. Dweh , these cross-borders uncontrollable elements are still creating panic in Western Cote d'Ivoire. "This is why there need to be a simultaneous disarmament of all combatants in the sub-region. Mr. Dweh compared rebellion to cancer that eats up the body. He said, in conclusion, "the time has come for all of us to say "We have had enough" to the international community".