LURD Rescinds Decision To Attack Peacekeepers

Moses M. Zangar, Jr.
Accra, Ghana

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

July 16, 2003

The largest rebel group attending ongoing Liberian peace talks in Accra has rescinded its decision to attack the multi-national stabilization force, which is expected to police the truce signed between the two rebel groups and the Government.

The Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) had reportedly threatened to attack the peacekeepers should they be deployed before the departure of President Charles Taylor.

But a LURD press statement issued in Accra at the weekend deprecated the statement, noting that the pronouncement by its secretariat, threatening to fight the peacekeepers does not reflect what it termed the “known position” of the group.

According to the press statement, the group subscribes to a comprehensive negotiated settlement to the Liberian conflict.

LURD further reasoned, as its considered position, that any arrangement that the potential of restoring lasting peace to Liberia must grow out a political settlement and military victory.

Moreover, the largest rebel group said it remained committed to doing all that lies within its ability to work with ECOWAS and the international community to ensure lasting peace in the country and the Sub-region in particular.

“Now that the international community, through the leadership of the United Nations, ECOWAS and United States, has manifested a clear signal that we believe will lead to permanent peace in our country, we must not allow Mr. Charles Taylor to manipulate the process any further.”

LURD in its statement, thrashed contention by the Government’s delegation the President Taylor’s Vice President Moses Z. Blah should replace him for the entire interim period during which the pending multi-national force will remain in Liberia.

They (LURD) hold the view that the final settlement of the Liberian crises should reflect the wishes of those who they claimed fought for a change of political direction as well as those affected by the resulting conflict and those exercising restraint by observing the current cease-fire.

LURD maintained, any attempt to preempt the negotiated settlement and the protocols that flow from it will be yet another betrayal of the desire of the Liberian people for peace and could undermine the integrity of the ECOWAS. This, the group said it would not be a party to.