Liberian minister welcomes ECOWAS decision against dissidents

Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- Liberian Foreign Minister Monie Captan has expressed satisfaction with the solidarity shown by the 15-nation ECOWAS towards his embattled country.
At their 25th ordinary Summit, which ended in Dakar, Senegal Friday, ECOWAS leaders condemned the activities of rebel groups, especially the Liberian Front for Reconciliation and Democracy (LFRD), fighting the government of President Charles Taylor in the country's northern Lofa County.
Taylor was absent from the Dakar Summit, citing "prevailing situation" in his country, an apparent reference to renewed fighting between government troops and the dissidents.
Apart from approving the imposition of undisclosed sanctions on the LFRD, ECOWAS leaders also expressed concern over the "repercussions of the UN sanctions on the people of Liberia and expressed the view that the government of Liberia needed assistance that would enable it to embark on economic and social reconstruction of the country.
" Liberia has been sanctioned for an alleged arms-for-diamond deal with Sierra Leone's rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF).
Captan, who led the Liberian delegation to the Dakar Summit described the ECOWAS support as commendable.
He told PANA in the Senegalese capital that his country needed the support of all the Community Member States to end the violence and concentrate on reconstruction and reconciliation after Liberia's devastating seven-year civil war, which ECOWAS helped to end in 1997.
On the doubts expressed by some opponents on Taylor's recent amnesty granted exiled Liberian politicians, Captan said "every Liberia who loves peace is free to return home and join the reconstruction process.
" He claimed that those accusing government of insincerity, had something to hide, noting that some Prisoners of War (POWs), "have confessed to receiving support from some of the highly placed politicians," whom government had accused of treason.
Captan said, however, that this was not the time for recrimination, but reconciliation after the Liberian civil war that killed more than 150,000 people and caused huge destruction of infrastructure ino Africa's first Republic founded by free slaves from America in 1847.
Liberia's difficult process of national reconstruction has been compounded by sporadic attacks, which the government blames on opponents or neighbouring countries harbouring dissidents.
While opponents accuse Taylor of intolerance, neighbouring countries, especially Guinea, also allege that Liberia supports dissidents fighting the Conakry government.
The activities of various rebel groups and general mistrust have created a state of insecurity in the Mano River Union countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
ECOWAS countries are striving to address the crisis to prevent the violence from spreading to other parts of the volatile sub- region.
The Dakar ECOWAS Summit called on the three Mano Union countries to intensify their dialogue they in order to restore lasting peace.
It also urged the Liberian government to initiate a national reconciliation policy that would involve all sectors of the society.

22 december 2001 17:59:00

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