Outgoing chairman wants ECOWAS summit to highlight violence

Monrovia- Liberia (PANA) -- The outgoing Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), President Alpha Konare, said the upcoming summit must remain unequivocal against violence in the sub-region.
"The position of ECOWAS has been clear.
We can't accept violence, or force of arms.
We will make it clear at the pending summit" scheduled for 20-21 December in Dakar, Senegal, the Malian president said.
Konare told journalists following closed door talks with President Charles Taylor Monday outside Monrovia that ECOWAS must continue to oppose the use of arms to depose democratically elected governments in the region.
"ECOWAS must ensure that all countries adhere to this principle.
We must condemn all armed groups and encourage parties to dialogue," he said shortly before departure from Liberia.
Konare said the upcoming ECOWAS summit will strive to consolidate the efforts of member states for the lifting of the UN sanctions against Liberia.
Liberia is under sanctions for its alleged support of the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in neighbouring Sierra Leone.
Senior Liberian government officials, including Taylor, their spouses and accomplices have been barred from travelling abroad and the country's diamond trade halted for a year.
A recent review of Liberia's compliance with the requirements for lifting the sanctions worsened the matter with the verification mission recommending additional measures to include the country's timber trade and escrowing the maritime funds.
Meanwhile, Taylor has expressed regrets to Konare about his inability to be at the Dakar summit due to the "prevailing situation in the country," an apparent reference to the war in the north against dissidents.
Taylor has instead sent foreign minister Monie Captan to Dakar to lead the Liberian delegation.

18 december 2001 17:38:00

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