Mano River Journalists Support Interim Government

(A Statement Issued by Mano River Media Forum, MARIFO)

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

June 8, 2003

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, June 3, 2003 --- As Liberians meet in the Ghanaian town of Akosombo June 4; the Mano River Media Forum (MARIFO) has expressed its strong support for the establishment of an interim government in Liberia.

MARIFO believes an interim government, taking office at the expiration of President Charles Taylor’s current term of office will set the basis for the resolution of the crisis in the country.

A robust international stabilization force, sponsored by the United Nations, should back the interim government to disarm and demobilize all combatants before conducting internationally supervised elections within 18 months.

MARIFO insists that Liberian men and women with impeccable character and unquestionable commitment to democracy must head the anticipated interim government. Leading members of the interim government must be expressly prohibited from being candidates in the impending elections.

MARIFO further calls on France and the United States to join Great Britain in establishing formidable democratic foundations within the Mano River basin and its eastern neighbor of Ivory Coast as the most realistic means of stabilizing the sub-region.

As was done by Britain and the UN in Sierra Leone, the United States and France must insist on holding internationally supervised elections not only in Liberia, but also in Guinea and Ivory Coast to resolve ongoing political crises in those countries.

This is imperative because dictators and tyrants in the subregion are currently engaged in reciprocal subversions to camouflage their internal dictatorial practices to the detriment of their respective compatriots.

MARIFO is a pro-democracy organization comprising journalists from the three member countries of the Mano River Union currently residing in the U.S., with Mr. Isaac Bantu, a former BBC correspondent in Liberia as its executive director.