Women activists urge ECOWAS leaders to end violence

Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- Representatives of the Mano River Union Women for Peace Network (MARWOPNET) Wednesday appealed to ECOWAS leaders to quickly resolve lingering conflicts within the three member countries of the Union.
"We want peace in our countries so that everyone can contribute towards development and integration," Juanita Jarrett, National Focal Point of MARWOPNET in Liberia, told PANA in Dakar ahead of the 20-21 December Summit of (the Economic Community of West African States) ECOWAS slated in the Senegalese capital.
The precarious security situation in member-countries of the Union -- Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone -- is high on the agenda of the current summit.
The three neighbouring countries accuse one another of harbouring and supporting dissidents, who are destabilising their territories.
Liberian President Charles Taylor has since ruled himself out of the Dakar Summit, because of "prevailing situation," an apparent reference to renewed fighting between government forces and dissidents in the north of the country.
Jarrett said ECOWAS leaders must act promptly to end the fighting in Liberia before it spreads to other countries in the sub- region.
Her counterpart from Guinea, Ticky Monekosso expressed a similar sentiment.
She said women and children were the worst victims of armed conflicts in West Africa, whose wars have killed thousands of people, impoverished the affected countries and displaced hundreds of thousands of their citizens.
Monekosso said the political leaders should emulate the example of MARWOPNET, created in 2000 through dialogue, solidarity and co-operation, by the various women groups in the three Mano River Union countries.
The two women activists said since the Mano River Union leaders could now talk to another after frosty relations, they should follow up with collective efforts to end violence in the sub- region.
The women believe it is only under a stable and peaceful environment that women and children can realise their full potentials.
MARWOPNET is an affiliate of the African Women Solidarity, and Committee of Women for Peace of the OAU and the United Nations.

19 Dezembro 2001 20:44:00

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