Gearing up for Peace, Justice and Security in Liberia
June 19, 2002
Liberian political and other opinion leaders are gearing up for what has been described as a crucial meeting in Washington, DC this month, to continue their dialogue on how to achieve peace, justice and security in Liberia. The meeting is slated for June 28th and 29th.
Last March, the Nigerian government and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sponsored a similar meeting in the Nigerian capital of Abuja. The meeting ended with a set of recommendations which the leaders submitted to the Chairman and Secretariat of ECOWAS, underlining possible solutions to the political, social and security crises that have engulfed the country for more than a decade.
According to Cletus Wortorson, Chairman of the Coordinating committee of the Washington meeting, the gathering is aimed at building upon the Abuja meeting and enhancing mutual trust and confidence among political and other prominent members of the Liberian society. He said it was important to lay groundwork for understanding and collaboration among the leaders to find lasting solutions to the critical problems facing the country.
Besides, the formal agenda items for the meeting, participants will spend much time getting to understand one another and candidly sharing their vision about the future of the country, Wotorson explained.
Topics to be discussed include security, national reconciliation, humanitarian issues, and the electoral process. “Although we will discuss the electoral process, this meeting is not intended to choose a candidate to represent all of us at the next presidential elections as some observers may have been speculating,” Wotorson said. He added that the focus would be on all issues impeding the holding of free and fair elections and how to reach a level playing field.
The meeting will bring together more than 35 persons, representing political parties, civil society and other opinion leaders currently residing in the United States or West Africa. A number of delegates are expected to come from Monrovia.
Commenting on the number of participants, the chairman said: “this is not a national conference, something we don’t exclude as we go on. It is a meeting of representatives of key sectors of the Liberian population, gathering to discuss certain issues, and we have invited a few more people beyond the politicians.”
Wotorson then disclosed that all political parties are represented and former standard bearers from the past elections will be in attendance. This is a crucial part in a series of consultations here and in West Africa, he emphasized.
Signed: Cletus S. Wotorson, Chairman
The Coordinating Committee
Liberian Leadership Consultative Meeting
June 19, 2002