Oppositions Political Parties Demand an Immediate Halt to the Military Madness in Monrovia
July 22, 2003
LIBERIA PEACE CONFERENCE
JULY 21, 2003
(Press Statement for immediate release)
Representatives of all Liberian opposition political parties attending the Liberia Peace Talks in Accra express utter disgust and grave consternation over the resumption of military hostilities by two of the belligerent forces in Monrovia for the third time since the signing of the ceasefire agreement on June 17, 2003. We categorically condemn this renewed fighting between the forces of Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and the Government of Liberia (GOL) and demand an immediate halt to the military madness which continues to aggravate the agony and suffering of the Liberian people. We contend that, in the face of progress being made at the Accra Talks, with the publication of the draft Comprehensive Peace Plan for Liberia, there can be no justification whatsoever for the renewed hostilities which have culminated into an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.
In view of the intransigence of these belligerents to adamantly pursue the path of war and flagrantly violate, with impunity, the dignity and humanity of the people of Liberia contrary to the norms of civility and internationally acceptable behavioral pattern, we emphatically state that both the military and political leaderships of the LURD and GOL will be held personally accountable, at the appropriate time, for the carnage and mayhem that is being perpetrated against the women, children and unarmed people of Liberia since the signing of the ceasefire agreement.
Moreover, the aggressive military posturing of LURD under the pretext of hastening the exit of Mr. Taylor as well as also responding to an alleged military provocation is ostensibly a cynical attempt by LURD to gain territorial advantage prior to the deployment of the Interposition Force. We remind LURD that such military posturing is an exercise in futility as no amount of military blackmailing and intimidation, through territorial conquest, will ever serve as a basis for the determination of the transitional and future political leadership of our country.
It is also our suspicion that this latest round of military hostilities is part of a grand design to create an unfavorable and hostile military environment that will be inimical to the deployment of an International Stabilization Force in Liberia and thereby prolong the crisis, depreciate the patience of the international community and ultimately result into the installation of a military junta. This is totally unacceptable and will be resisted by the people of Liberia without compromise. We submit, therefore, that the way forward in the resolution of the constitutional, political and military crises in which Liberia is engulfed is through dialogue and negotiations as provided by the Accra Peace Conference and not by an ostentatious display of military arrogance.
The political parties note with regrets that the undue delay in both the movement of the Joint Verification Team (JVT) and the deployment of the Interposition Force (IF) in Liberia has created the precarious void that is now being opportunistically exploited by LURD to make military gains on the one hand, and by Mr. Charles Taylor, on the other hand, to perpetuate his grip on power in spite of popular calls for his immediate exit.
In serious consideration of the aforementioned, coupled with the total
collapse of law and order in Liberia, we call on all persons of goodwill
and the international community, particularly the authorities of ECOWAS,
the ICGL, the AU, EU, the UN Security
Council and the governments of the United States and the Federal Republic of Nigeria to decisively and demonstratively practicalize their expressed commitment to the restoration of peace in Liberia by immediately providing the financial and logistical support urgently needed for the deployment of the Interposition Force in Liberia so as to save lives and halt the carnage.
For well over a decade, a small group of individuals, without any legitimate and just cause, has arrogated unto itself the right to make war. They have used said wars to plunder our country, deprive our people of decent living and have reduced Liberians to beggars both at home and abroad. We, therefore, make this passionate plea to the international community to help us bring lasting peace to our country and provide a democratic space for all Liberians to begin the Herculean task of national healing, reconstruction and development. Enough is enough! Liberia and Liberians deserve the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Issued by the Secretariat
LIBERIAN OPPOSITION POLITICAL PARTIES