Liberian Political Parties Ask US to Match President Bush's Call With "Demonstrative Action"
Moses M. Zangar, Jr.
Several Liberian political parties attending the ongoing peace summit in Accra have welcomed with reservation, call by States President George W. Bush for President Charles Taylor to step down. At the same time two parties of the Consolidated Registered Political Parties (CRPP) are diametrically opposed to the statement by the US president.
Mr. George W. Bush called on the Liberian leader Charles Taylor to step down in a bid to quell further bloodshed in the West African Country. He expressed his country's commitment to supporting discussions aimed at reaching a comprehensive peace agreement for Liberia.
"In Liberia, the United States strongly supports the cease-fire signed earlier this month. President Taylor needs to step down so that his country can be spared further bloodshed. All the parties in Liberia must pursue a comprehensive peace agreement. And the United States is working with regional governments to support those negotiations and to map out a secure transition to elections. We are determined to help the people of Liberia find the path to peace," President Bush said.
In this light, 14 of Liberia's 18 political parties said the call is consistent with the position of opposition political parties in the country.
But the parties in a statement issued at the weekend maintained that such call by President Bush should be matched with what they referred to as "demonstrative action" on the part of the United States.
The Unity Party (UP), Free Democratic Party (FDP), Liberia Action Party (LAP), Liberia National Union (LINU), the Liberian People's Party (LPP), National Reformation Party, the People's Democratic Party of Liberia, United People's Party (UPP), Labor Party of Liberia, Liberia Equal Rights Party, Liberia Unification Party (LUP), the National Democratic Party of Liberia, New DEAL Movement and the Reformation Alliance Party were amongst 14 parties welcoming President George Bush's call.
But two members of the Consolidated Registered Political Parties (CRPP) viewed the United States' President statement as not being healthy to the peace negotiations for Liberia.
Hon. David E. Kortie and Cllr. Rudolph Sherman, Chairmen of the All Liberian Coalition Party (ALCOP) and the True Whig Party (TWP) in separate statements Sunday said the call for the Liberian leader to stop down is not the remedy to the situation in the country.
Moreover, Mr. Kortie described as "incorrect" Mr. Bush's call for the president of another country to step down.
In the face of this renewed political bickering, the 14 political parties said Liberia falls within the sphere of influence of the United States, and as such, the United States should facilitate the timely exit of President Taylor and expedite the deployment of an international security force on humanitarian grounds to prevent a repetition of the recent carnage in Monrovia.
Furthermore, the 14 political parties want the US bring pressure to bear on the both the Government and the dissident factions to fully comply with the stipulations of the truce signed on June 17 this year.
They are calling on the international community not to give up on the search for peace in Liberia. "Finding peace cannot be left to the whims and caprices of the warring parties simply because they hold the guns."
We implore the international community including the US not to let Liberia degenerate into another Rwanda or Somalia, they intimated.
While the peace talks are being recessed until Friday, the parties said they would be in constant consultations with other stakeholders to evolve a framework for a comprehensive peace plan that would be presented for consideration when the talks resume.