Opposition parties welcome ECOWAS planned peace talks

Monrovia- Liberia (PANA) -- Liberian opposition parties Friday welcomed the planned talks by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to reconcile President Charles Taylor and the country's exiled opposition politicians.
ECOWAS is reported to be planning the reconciliation talks between Taylor and the exiles, who have "major differences" with the Monrovia government.
"We are of the firm opinion that these talks will contribute positively to improving the security situation not only in Liberia, but within the Mano River basin," the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) said in a statement published in Monrovia.
CPP comprises some 12 opposition parties, most of which have their leaders abroad or in self-imposed exile due to alleged security concerns.
At least four top party officials and some leaders of former warring factions are among 14 persons the Taylor government has charged with treason for their alleged support of insurgents fighting in the north of the country.
The 14 have, however, denied the charges and instead accused Taylor of scheming to keep them away from political developments in the country.
The CPP said it is willing "in anyway possible" to assist in ensuring that the planned reconciliation talks are successful.
The group urged all concerned to attend "this all-important meeting for the sake of peace and unity" in the country.
Since Taylor came to power in 1997, a number of Liberian politicians and intellectuals have fled the country either as a direct result of security threat or as a precautionary measure based on political developments in the country.
After a bloody seven-year civil war that ended in 1997, Liberia is now under UN sanctions for alleged arms-for-diamond trade with Sierra Leonean rebels.
Political analysts say under the circumstances, the government may find it difficult to run the country free of external dissent or pressure.
"Everyone has a right to be here (in Liberia) and all efforts must be made to remove any stumbling block that keeps (people) away," one analyst said.

06 july 2001 17:02:00




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