MODEL Condemns LURD's "Threats" Against Chairman Bryant

By Winsley S. Nanka

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

September 17, 2003

The Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL), one of the rebel groups that signed the recent Liberian peace agreement in Ghana says it takes "serious exception" to the recent press statement by LURD threatening to withdraw from the government of national unity that is being formed in Liberia. LURD has threatened to withdraw from the interim government because of what it called "attempt to deny it key government positions".

LURD’s threats were contained in the press statement by the rebel group in reaction to comments made by Harry A. Greaves, Jr, the spokesman for incoming Interim President Gyude Bryant. Mr. Greaves is reported to have said during a local radio talk show in Monrovia that the " warring factions will not be given assistant ministerial positions. That will be the duty of Chairman Bryant to do." Mr. Greaves was further quoted as saying the "factions are only entitled to minister and two deputy ministerial slots in all of the ministries,"

However, according to the peace agreement recently signed in Ghana, the "allocation of ministerial positions, deputy and assistant ministerial positions, headship of autonomous agencies, commissions, public corporations and state-owned enterprises shall be made to the parties to this agreement through a process of negotiation."

Speaking in an interview in Philadelphia, Mr. Richard Devine an executive committee member of MODEL said while "MODEL believes that the statement attributed to Mr. Harry Greaves, Jr. is a misinterpretation of the peace agreement recently signed in Ghana among the stakeholders to the Liberian conflict, threats of withdrawal from the interim government will not be in the best interest of peace and reconciliation in Liberia."

"LURD must understand that the war is over", Mr. Devine continued. Therefore, "any misunderstanding about the interpretation of the peace agreement must be resolved through dialogue". Mr. Devine disclosed that MODEL has written a letter to Chairman Bryant seeking clarification about the statement attributed to Mr. Greaves, Jr.

Asked about the reported refusal of MODEL’s fighters in Buchanan to allow the West African peacekeepers into the city, Mr. Devine said "it is not an official policy of MODEL to refuse entry to its territory... The peacekeepers are free to move into MODEL’s territory, all they have to do is contact MODEL’s military high command".

Concluding, the MODEL’s executive committee member said "the war was intended to get rid of Charles Taylor, it is not a way of life for some of us." Therefore, "MODEL will work with Chairman Bryant and all the parties to the peace agreement to bring lasting peace to Liberia".