MDCL Endorses Statement Issued at Abuja Conference

(Press Release)

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

March 29, 2002

The Movement for Democratic Change in Liberia (MDCL) wholeheartedly endorses and, hereby, reaffirms the principles set forth in the Position Statement on Security, Reconciliation and Peace in Liberia, presented to the Authority of ECOWAS and the government of Nigeria on 15 March 2002.

We remain unwavering in our core commitment - facilitation of democratic change in Liberia via non-violent means. In this regards, we urge the government of Liberia to create an atmosphere of security and sound civil government upon which vibrant civil and political participation flourish. We call on Mr. Taylor to take affirmative steps towards the implementation of conditions that we consider sacrosanct and indispensable for the holding of free and fair elections in Liberia in 2003.

The Movement regrets Mr. Taylor’s disparagement of the noble efforts of ECOWAS in its search for peace in Liberia, by his sending a late-arriving delegation to a meeting that would have signaled the beginning of a genuine process of national reconciliation. We equally regret the failure of LURD to attend the conference and missing the opportunity to hold discussions with other Liberians about peace and stability in our country. We urge both Mr. Taylor and LURD to become more honest and dynamic participants in the search for enduring peace in Liberia.

In the same vein, we hope that the Position Statement adopted by civil society and political opposition at Abuja does not join the list of eloquent but hollow words; we further hope that it is a call to action. We think that a conference under the aegis of a coalition of all parties to the Position Statement, as well as the government of Liberia and LURD, geared towards discussions and strategizing regarding the principles expressed therein, is the necessary next step. We urge all parties to join hands with the MDCL and all peace-loving Liberians in arranging and carrying out such a conference.

The MDCL wishes to extend the heartfelt appreciation of the Liberian people to the ECOWAS for hosting the Abuja conference and hope that they will remain fully engaged in the search for peace in Liberia. However, ECOWAS’s involvement must be contingent upon a fundamental understanding: Participation of civil society in the peace process should not be dependent upon an act of grace from ECOWAS; it is an inalienable right of the people in any democratic society. We suggest that in the future greater efforts be made by ECOWAS to include more Liberian civil organizations, and that they be invited in a timely manner to participate in subsequent conference(s) being held in the search for lasting peace and reconciliation in Liberia. This is no less than what ordinary, peace-loving Liberians deserve.

God Bless Liberia!

Nohn R. Kidau (Mrs.), Chair

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