Talks Delayed Once Again
By Abdoulaye W. Dukule
Talks scheduled to start today are once again postponed because the ECOWAS Delegation sent to Monrovia and Guinea to negotiate a ceasefire has yet to return. According General Abdulsalami Abubakar, chief ECOWAS negotiator, the ECOWAS delegation has yet to reach Monrovia because of poor visibly last night. "I doubt we will have anything going today, we have to get a report from Monrovia before we can proceed.," said the general who has been meeting with various parties and delegations at the Conference site.
MODEL political delegation has finally arrived from the USA and is led by JD Slanger and Dean Eugene Wilson, as spokesman. The military wing of MODEL is lead by General Boi-Bleaju-Boi and Colonel Dee Bee. In an interview with this paper, General Boi-Bleaju-Boi said: "We are ready and prepared to talk with all Liberians to find a peaceful solutions to our problem but we will not talk with Mr. Taylor, because he is an indicted war criminal and we have nothing to discuss with him." General Boi said his troops controlled the Tapita District in Nimba, the whole of Grand Geddeh County, Maryland and part of Bass County as well as River Gee county. He also said that their intention is not to seize power by force by rather to force Mr. Taylor and allow Liberians to make a smooth transition into peace. "We want to work with everybody in Liberia to put together a transitional government that would bring peace and democracy to our country."
Meanwhile, General Joe Wylie is leading the military delegation of LURD, flanked by Tarty Teh, spokesman of LURD in the United States.
ECOWAS is also said to be making preparations to send a group to ascertain the positions of the various groups on the ground.
According to reports, things have quieted down in Monrovia. Mr.Lewis Brown, who leads the Liberian government delegation to the talks returned to Akosombo last night with Senator Mohamed Dukuly to join NPP Chairman Mr. Cyril Allen.
In the absence of formal talks, Liberians have been meeting and discussing various options while a group of Liberian women has been keeping vigil at the conference center under rain and hot sun, praying and singing peace songs.
It seems that Liberians are slowly developping a peace formula while military issues are being discussed. There are various stories being carried around about the fate of Mr. Taylor, with no way to ascertain any. The most accepted view by conference attendants is that he be allowed to go into exile, if that would allow for a peaceful solution to the crisis. "The last thing we want is to have Taylor entrenching himself with fighters and bombing Monrovia. Those of us who lived there in 1992 know he is capable of anything... Let him go so we can have peace."