For Accra Peace Talks - Presidential Aspirant Wants Only Two Agenda Items

By: Patrick K. Wrokpoh

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

May 16, 2003

A presidential aspirant of the Liberian Action Party (LAP), Dr. Joseph Korto has suggested that the pending Accra peace talks on Liberia be restricted to only two agenda items.

He named the two agenda items as the negotiation for a ceasefire among the fighting forces, and discussion on the arrangement for the deployment of an international stabilization force which will monitor such a cease-fire.

Dr. Kortu said should these two items be deliberated upon at the peace talks and fully implemented subsequently, then he will be optimistic that indeed the country is on its way to real peace.

Addressing journalists shortly before he took off for the United States to attend what he referred to as an "important meeting", Dr. Korto said it is his belief that every well-meaning Liberian including those in the LURD, will be enthusiastic and prepared to give peace a chance at the Accra Talks.

The politician who had recently returned to the country from the United States where he has been residing for the past several years, said he has observed a degree of enthusiasm among Liberians that they will give peace a chance.

Commenting on the issue of the 10-year residency clause for presidential candidates, Dr. Korto said applying this provision of the constitution in the pending elections will be a "misuse of the constitution."

He said applying it now will only exclude some Liberians who are desirous of contesting for the presidency of the country.

According to him, if the clause was applied in the elections, the leadership that may emerge might not have the overwhelming support and get the cooperation of all Liberians since some other candidates might have been excluded from the process.

He added that this may undermine the credibility of the elections and also be unjust to Liberians who were forced to leave the country due to security reasons.

Dr. Korto pointed out that Liberians who left the country did not do so voluntarily but rather, as a result of a war that was started by the NPFL which later changed to the NPP.

According to him, enforcing the 10-year clause against these Liberians may leave what he called a "political bad-blood", and embarrass the election’s credibility.

He said for the sake of peace, the clause should be thrown out of the window so that all Liberians can participate in the elections and be able to freely choose their own leaders.

Dr.Korto said he is happy that Liberia is coming to the point where individuals will take interest to enforce the rule of law, adding "but we should not take interest to enforce the rule of law when it is in our favor."

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