Liberian Ambassador in the US Recalled?

The Perspective

March 6, 2002

The Liberian foreign service, in particular its embassy in Washington, appears to be poised for changes. It is alleged by reliable sources at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia, that Foreign Minister Monie Captan has submitted the name of Randolph Cooper to the US Department of State as a replacement for Ambassador William Bull. Mr. Randolph Cooper is currently manager of the Roberts International Airport, a Taylor kitchen cabinet member and brother of Gerald Cooper.

When Mr. Bull was first appointed by the Taylor government as ambassador to London, this newsmagazine reported on March 22, 1999, that he had to stay in a hotel and later at an apartment in Nottinghill Gate, London, owned by Mr. Anthony Weeks (relative of Gerald Cooper). This happened because, few days before his arrival, Gerald Cooper sold the Liberian Ambassador's residence to one Barry Westwood for about £640,000 (six hundred and forty thousands pounds). As a key pointman for the Taylor regime abroad, Gerald Cooper was kicked out of Great Britain on charges of smuggling military hardware for the Taylor government. He later went to Kenya, spent a few months with the notorious arms dealer, Sanjivan Ruprah -aka Samir NASR, who is currently under arrest in Belgium. But Cooper resurfaced at the Liberian Maritime office in the United States. His appointment to the post at the Maritime office and his acceptance by the United States Government surprised many who thought that he would be denied entry in the United States after being declared persona-non-grata in Britain.

It can be recalled that several years ago in the heat of the civil war, Mr. Randolph Cooper and Ambassador Bull sparred on ABC Nightline, with Mr. Bull defending the Samuel K. Doe government in his capacity as Liberia's Ambassador to the UN and Mr. Randolph Cooper speaking in defense of the armed rebellion led by Charles Taylor. In 1992, after the Carter Camp massacre, Mr. William Bull spearheaded effort by the Interim Government of Dr. Sawyer in trying to get the United Nations to label the NPFL and Charles Taylor as a “terrorist group.” This attempt failed because of the efforts by Mr. Taylor's supporters in America and Liberia, some of whom have since joined the opposition. Sources also alleged that if the Liberian government succeeds in getting the US government to accept Randolph Cooper, Mr. Bull would return to Monrovia to serve as a deputy to Foreign Minister Monie Captan.

Furthermore, Mr. Randolph Cooper and his brother, Gerald Cooper, are listed among the names of those affected by the United Nations travel ban imposed, a few months ago, on President Taylor, his relatives, members of his “inner circle”, and Liberian government and military officials.

According to our sources at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the agreement for Randolph Cooper’s appointment is yet to be accepted by the United Sates government. If accepted, Mr. Cooper will be the 3rd Liberian Ambassador to the United States since the inception of the Taylor government. The first Ambassador, Rachel Gbenyon Diggs, a close friend of President Taylor’s confidante, Senator Grace Minor, resigned amid frustration and lack of cooperation.

It is said that the Government has yet to inform Ambassador Bull.

Similarly, the Liberian Ambassador to the United Nations, Mrs. Neh Dukuly-Tolbert, also learned of her replacement from relatives in Liberia who had heard the news in Monrovia on the air. She was replaced with Lamin Kawah.

Meanwhile, the Bull fight continues in Washington, DC. Ambassador Bull is busy responding to the many articles highlighting human rights abuses by the Taylor government. Will Mr. Bull return to Monrovia to work under Monie Captan or would he join the swelling ranks of the opposition?

The recent press release from the US Embassy near Monrovia and the 2001 Human Rights Reports issued by the State Department are said to put a damper on the celebration of the government after the Rabat Summit. It seems that the US government was not fooled by the communiqué signed by the three MRU leaders, and especially by Taylor, the former warlord turned president who has always reneged on his promises.

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