Liberian Civic and Political Leaders Meet in Ouagadougou
(Press Release)

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

July 6, 2002

Liberian civic and political leaders will be meeting in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso at a conference of the Liberian Leadership Forum from July 8-11, 2002 to concretize the evolving consensus on the ways and means of halting and reversing the deteriorating security, social, economic and political situation in Liberia. The thematic thrust of the conference is to “Save Liberia and Restore its Honor and Dignity.”

Formally making the announcement, the Chairman of the Working Group of the Liberian Leadership Forum, Mr. Conmany Wesseh said that the conference would be crowning a number of consultations that have been going on among Liberian leaders around the world on the way forward in Liberia in the face of raging armed conflict and indescribable human suffering.

The conference is being hosted by the Government of Burkina Faso under the auspices of His Excellency President Blaise Campaore. The President is expected to deliver an important address to open the conference. Dr. Amos Sawyer, former President of the Interim Government of National Unity (1990-1994) has consented to chair the conference.

Key speakers at the conference will include leading political and civic figures, including Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the leader of the opposition Unity Party; Counselor Rudolph Sherman, Chairman of the Collaborating Political Parties; the Chairman of the ruling National Patriotic Party; and leaders of the armed opposition, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD). The participation of the ruling NPP and LURD at the conference will signal a new and positive development in the search for peace that has been elusive for nearly three years of armed struggle.

The Working Group organizing the conference is made up of personalities and leaders of civil society organizations and political parties. The conference will bring together a significant number of Liberian leaders of diverse political persuasions and social backgrounds, representing political parties, civil society organizations and the inter-religious community. Deliberations will focus on: security; humanitarian issues in Liberia and neighboring countries; reconciliation; economic reconstruction; and elections.

The Ouagadougou Conference will strengthen and enrich achievements made so far on some of the burning issues in meetings of Liberians, especially those recently held in Abuja and Washington, D.C. A special report from the Washington, DC conference chaired by Mr. Cletus Wotorson, leader of the Liberia Action Party will be presented to the participants.

The conference has been receiving overwhelming support from Liberian political parties, civil society organizations, influential personalities and large sections of the population. . Moral support and expressions of well wishes for a successful outcome have been received from many friends of Liberia as well as governments and non-governmental organizations.

The Economic Community of West African States and the Organization of African Unity/African Union have given very strong support to and will address the conference. Many other organizations including international humanitarian, human rights and conflict management entities have indicated their desire to send observers to the conference.

The organizers acknowledge, with appreciation, the support for the success of the conference provided by the Government of Burkina Faso, the Soros Foundation and the International Republican Institute of the United States of America.

Issued on July 4, 2002

For further information, please contact any of the following persons:

Harry Greaves: (225) 03-07-42-77; Dusty Wolokolie: (225) 07-55-90-79; or

Vivienne Wreh: (226) 35-60-05

C/O: 06 BP 397, Abidjan 06, Côte d’Ivoire; Tel: (225) 22 41 14 21
Cell: (225) 03 09 45 12/ 07 55 90 79/ 03 09 05 83; Fax: (225) 22 44 98 87

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