Liberia Peace Talks Facilitor Wants Ceasefire

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

May 9, 2003

The African statesman appointed to serve as facilitator of the up-coming Accra Peace Talks on Liberia, Rtd. Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar has called for an immediate cease-fire in the ongoing conflict in the country.

He said the call was being made to allow the pending peace talks take place and is in keeping with the general feelings gathered from his interaction with Liberians that they want peace.

Speaking to journalists at the United Nations peace-building support office in Mamba Point, shortly after he had held separate meetings with political parties’ leaders and civil society organizations, Gen. Abubakar urged all stakeholders in the country to give the process leading to the peace talks a chance.

On the issue as to what was discussed during his meetings with stakeholders, Gen. Abubakar said they talked about the issue of a stabilization force, disarmament, the security condition surrounding the pending elections, among others.

He said these points raised during the discussions will be taken into consideration at the deliberations in Accra.

Relative to the composition of participants for the peace talks, Gen. Abubakar said all stakeholders and organizations such as political parties, civil society institutions, combatants among others shall be invited for the talks.

Commenting on the issue as to whether he intends to meet with the LURD, the former Nigerian Head of State said it is his duty to meet with all Liberian stakeholders including LURD.

"I intend to meet them as soon as possible. If they were present here today, I would have met them," he said.

Gen. Abubakar added that some arrangements were already afoot for him to meet with the LURD, adding, "I will meet them".

On the issue as to whether President Taylor expressed any concern during their meeting at his Congo Town residence yesterday, Gen. Abubakar said the President expressed concern for peace and was very accommodating during their discussions.

sked as to whether there was any suggestion for an Interim Government during the talks, he answered in the affirmative, but hastened to add that the discussion with stakeholders was not the Accra Peace Talks, adding "these are the points we’re collecting in order to get the meeting started".

Quizzed to comment on whether President Taylor did agree during the discussions that the prevailing conditions are conducive for the holding of elections come October, Gen. Abubakar said, "I cannot remember that right now".

Meanwhile, Gen. Abubakar departed the country yesterday following the series of meetings with various stakeholders. He is expected to make his report to the chairman of ECOWAS, President John Kuffour of Ghana.

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