President Wade says ECOMOG may intervene in Liberia

Yamoussoukro- Cote d'Ivoire (PANA) -- Troops under West African Peacekeeping Force (ECOMOG) might intervene in Liberia if peace negotiations fail to solve the crisis in that country, President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal has said.
Addressing a news conference in Yamoussoukro after an extraordinary ECOWAS summit Friday, Wade who is the sub-regional body's current chairman, insisted that his fellow leaders believe priority should be given to dialogue.
"We do not rule out the possibility of sending a peacekeeping force in Liberia, but we first call for an immediate and unconditional cease-fire.
"Then, we shall consider with President (Olusegun) Obasanjo, whether there is a need to organise a round table with all the Liberian political parties.
We hope that President Charles Taylor will accept to participate," he added.
The Senegalese President, whose conviction is that "all the problems in Africa can be solved through discussions" revealed that ECOWAS leaders had authorised him to seek the backing of European countries and the US towards the sub-regional grouping's strategy to end the latest Liberian crisis.
"If the cease-fire does not work, then we'll send the ECOWAS peacekeeping force, ECOMOG in Liberia," said President Wade, warning however that this "requires a lot of money and logistics.
" Asked why ECOWAS leaders did not follow the mediation and Security Council, which firmly condemned the rebel Movement of United Liberians for Reconciliation and Democracy for "using force as a means to come to power," the ECOWAS chairman said that the summit's intention was "to give room to dialogue.
" He however noted that after a long discussion, the ECOWAS summit in Yamoussoukro had endorsed the resolution passed by the Mediation and the Security Council.
The ECOWAS call for a cease-fire comes shortly after recent attacks by the armed Liberian rebels close to Monrovia.

19 may 2002 17:35:00

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