Taylor rules himself out of Dakar ECOWAS Summit

Monrovia- Liberia (PANA) -- Liberian President Charles Taylor will not attend the 20-21 ECOWAS Summit in Dakar, Senegal, an official statement has said in Monrovia.
The statement cited the "prevailing situation in Liberia," as the main reason, an apparent reference to the escalating dissident warfare in the north of the country.
Liberia, which also under UN sanctions, would, however, be represented at the ECOWAS summit by Foreign Minister Monie Captan, the statement said.
It said Taylor made the disclosure Saturday when he received Babacar Ba, a special envoy of Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, host the 25th Economic Community of West African States Summit.
Ba was in Liberia with a "special invitation" to Taylor from Wade to attend the Summit, which is expected to, among other things, elect a new ECOWAS chair to replace current chairman Alpha Konare of Mali, and a new Executive Secretary.
The Senegalese envoy said Wade was of the view that too much time had been spent on war and hostilities in the ECOWAS region and that attention should now be focused on economic development to improve the living standard of the people.
Taylor expressed "full support" for initiatives to be taken at the Dakar Summit, and called for a "new strategy" in ECOWAS to involve unity and commitment to the ideals of the grouping.
He also called for the restructuring of the ECOWAS mechanism to allow for an even distribution of power to increase the participation of smaller States in the region, the Information Ministry statement added.

10 december 2001 22:57:00

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