T. Q. Harris Appointed as LURD Negotiator

(A Statement Issued By LURD)

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

May 17, 2003


May 17, 2003

T. Q. Harris
We would like to begin by addressing a few widely held misconceptions about Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and the current conflict in Liberia.

1. In 1999, LURD was created in a desperate effort to stop witch-hunting, torture, secret killings, human rights abuses, lawlessness and Tyranny in Liberia. LURD has no intentions of becoming a political party or seizing state power. Acts of violence perpetrated against civilians -men, women, children and the elderly-- were never authorized or condoned by LURD and done by people acting on their own or by Charles Taylor's militias.

2. Every armed man and woman now fighting to defeat Tyranny in Liberia is under the command of LURD. There are no other armed groups operating inside the country. The so-called Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) --the armed group said to be operating inside Liberia --does not exist.

3. At the moment, LURD forces are in control of approximately 70 percent of the country and we have the capacity to capture Monrovia at will. However, seizing territory is not the primary objective. LURD's Ultimate Goal is Freedom For All Liberians.

4. LURD receives no assistance from any government within or outside West Africa. However, there are many who sympathize with the suffering of the Liberian people. Funding to the organization has come from Liberians and friends of Liberia.

LURD is now a resistance force headed solely by its military leaders; there are no civilians in its ranks. Irreconcilable differences have led to separation between the fighting forces and civilians who in the past have represented the organization. LURD military leaders have no desire to seek political office, nor do we intend to impose a ruler upon the Liberian people.

Going forward, LURD will vigorously pursue a peaceful resolution to the conflict that began in 1989 when Charles Taylor's NPFL forces attacked the Liberian people. Now, with peace as the central focus, we would like to propose the following:

1. Ceasefire to be monitored by International military observers; LURD is prepared to ceasefire immediately!

2. Resignation of the NPP administration and the seating of a Government of National Unity to be followed by total disarmament. LURD will comply with internationally supervised disarmament; and,

3. To ensure transparency, the U.N. must conduct the next presidential and legislative elections whenever it is held.

LURD has taken its first step toward peace by calling upon Mr. T. Q. Harris, an untainted neutral politician, to serve as its Principal Representative in negotiating an immediate ceasefire and the formation of a Unity Government. We are pleased Mr. Harris has responded favorably to our appeal. Because LURD no longer wishes to continue its armed resistance, now it is obvious Charles Taylor is the main obstacle to peace in West Africa.

We, therefore, call upon the International Contact Group on Liberia, the Economic Community of West African States, United Nations, European Union, African Union, fellow Liberians, and friends of Liberia to give Mr. Harris your fullest cooperation. He is prepared to articulate LURD's position as it relates to ending hostilities in Liberia.

Those wishing to contact Mr. T. Q. Harris may do so by calling (562) 218-1151, or e-mail him at liberia@charter.net

Thank you.

Sign: Gen. Prince Seo

Chief of Staff

Approved: LURD Military High Command