Accra Peace Talks On Liberia Set for June 2nd
The Accra talks which is expected to bring about a final resolution to the nearly five-year old conflict in the country is slated to commence on 2nd June, 2003. This date was set at the recent ICG meeting in Brussels, Belgium. See full text of press release issued following the meeting:
The International Contact Group on Liberia (ICGL) held its 3rd working session at the headquarters of the Council of the European Union in Brussels on 12 May 2003.
Representatives of Ghana, Nigeria, Morocco, France, United Kingdom, United States of America, African Union, ECOWAS Secretariat, European Union and the United Nations attended. The meeting was co-chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, representing the ECOWAS Chairman and the Special Representative of the presidency of the European Union to the Mano River Union countries, Mr. Hans Dahlgren. General Abdulsalami Abubakar attended the meeting in his capacity as mediator on behalf of ECOWAS in planned peace talks for Liberia.
The Contact Group expressed its deep concern about the on-going conflict in Liberia which, as can be seen from recent events in Ivory Coast remains a threat to the peace and stability of the entire region. The contact group reiterated its call for immediate and unconditional negotiations between the government of Liberia and the LURD/MODEL within the framework of an ECOWAS-led mediation process.
The Contact Group expressed its full support for ECOWAS efforts to broker lasting peace in Liberia and welcomed the appointment of General Abdulsalami Abubakar, former Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as the mediator.
The Contact Group called on all sides in Liberia to work with the ECOWAS mediator with the aim of initiating a comprehensive peace process, including a lasting cease-fire, security, electoral reform, respect for human rights, th rule of law and a process of national reconciliation talks scheduled for Accra, Ghana on 2nd June, 2003.
The Contact Group stressed that a comprehensive and credible peace process is an essential prerequisite for the continued engagement and support by the international community. The contact Group is prepared to consider recommending the deployment of a monitoring force when concrete progress has been registered.
The UN/AU/ECOWAS Needs Assessment Mission briefing, the Contact Group concluded that all Liberians, including President Taylor, shared its assessment that conditions for free and fair elections do not now exist. The consequences flowing from this assessment are matters the peace talks will address.
The ICGL urges Liberia to comply fully with the demands of the UN Security Council in order for the UN sanctions regime to be lifted as soon as possible.
The Contact Group calls on all warring parties in Liberia to cease hostilities without preconditions. It urges Liberia’s neighbors to prevent their national territories from being used to undermine the peace process. It appeals to the international community to support a comprehensive peace process in Liberia.