ECOWAS' Record of Inaction: LURD May Walk Away From the Ceasefire Agreement

(Letter to ECOWAS Chief Negotioator)

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

June 22, 2003

Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD)
Delegation to the Liberian Peace Talks in Accra, Ghana
La Palm Royal Beach Hotel
Accra, Ghana

June 21, 2003

Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar
Facilitator for the Liberian Peace Talks
M Plaza Hotel
Accra, Ghana

Dear General Abubakar:

Re: Letter of Protest

Liberian President Charles Taylor's June 4, 2003, declaration of intention to step down from the Liberian presidency was the basis for LURD's decision to sign the June 17, 2003, ceasefire agreement that should still be in effect. Therefore, Mr. Taylor's June 21, 2003, announcement that he will no longer honor his own timetable for departure from the Liberian presidency is as a breach of the June 17, 2003, ceasefire agreement, specifically Item 9, Section G, under "Ceasefire Violations."

We at LURD are therefore disturbed by the absence of any voluntary response from ECOWAS regarding Taylor's announced intention to ignore the ceasefire agreement. ECOWAS' failure to contact those of us who had sought to use Taylor's record of contemptuous disregard for signed agreements as an unacceptable risk factor in signing the current ceasefire is yet another cause for concern. Needless to say that we were talked out of all of our objections on the strength of ECWAS' promise of due diligent this time around.

From our standpoint, what is missing in all of our combined efforts toward durable peace in Liberia is ECOWAS' resolve to confront Charles Taylor in the enforcement of ECOWAS' own mandate.

However, and more important than Taylor's habit of contempt for ECOWAS, it is ECOWAS' record of inaction that forms the basis of our distress on the question of its function as a regional enforcer of binding economic and military pacts. We grant that we reserve the right to walk away from the signed ceasefire agreement and thereby free to resume hostilities. But we had hoped for a lasting ceasefire, not an excuse for returning to combat.

We therefore need ECOWAS' clarification and ruling on Taylor's announced breach of the ceasefire agreement we signed less than a week ago.

Your urgent attention to this matter will determine our next course of action.

Most respectfully yours,

LURD Delegation to the Liberian Peace Talks

Signed: Head of Delegation

cc: Government of Ghana, ECOWAS, US, EU, AU, UN

Submitted by:
Tarty Teh
Chief Political Representative for Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD)