Archbishop Francis Proposal Gets Support

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

May 1, 2003

Catholic Archbishop Michael K. Francis’ proposal calling for the extension of the tenure of the current government of Liberia has received support from several citizens.

The citizens who came to the offices of The INQUIRER yesterday, said the Archbishop’s proposal is a unique recipe for peace in the country, since the current fighting has devastated parts of the country. They said they have been touched by Archbishop Francis’ proposal, an idea they find to be very much in place, in that two fighting groups are presently fighting the government at a time it should be preparing the country for elections.

The citizens speaking through a spokesman said, the six month period proposed by the Archbishop will afford the popularly elected government led by President Charles Taylor to use its good offices to end the war and hold the pending elections. "Looking at the situation in this country, it is not possible to hold elections because even the ruling National Patriotic Party(NPP) will not be able to reach all parts of the country to campaign", the spokesman said.

The citizens said cease-fire, disarmament, voters registration and other arrangements needed for the restoration of peace can not work in accordance with the October 14th, 2003 date set for the holding of elections.

They then called on stakeholders, especially political parties and Interest Groups, the NPP led government and the International Contact Group on Liberia.(ICGL) to take serious Archbishop Francis’ proposal.

The citizens’ agreed with Archbishop Francis that such arrangement should not be one that would bring into place an Interim Government but only the extension of the NPP government’s tenure.

Accra Peace Talks On Liberia Set For May 14 In the wake of an outcry by Liberians for the International Contact Group on Liberia (ICGL) to speedily convene the pending peace talks on the Liberian crisis, latest reports gathered from credible sources suggest that the meeting is now tentatively set for May 14, 2003.

According to sources, the pending peace talks will take place in Accra, Ghana, and will be chaired by the ICG.

Already, invitations have been sent out to the expected participants including the various stake-holders, according to the sources. At the same time, our sources hinted that Gen. Abu Salem Abubakar who is to chair the meeting as well as the United Nations Secretary General’s special representative, Abu Mousa, has been visiting the ECOWAS Secretariat in Accra in preparation for the pending peace talks.

The composition of delegates for the pending talks is not yet known, but sources said the meeting will bring together all of the stakeholders in the Liberian crisis.

Meanwhile, sources close to the Liberian government say its focus now is to see the meeting take place and is prepared to do all it can to ensure that the outcome of the meeting brings peace to the country.

© 2003: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.