Russian foreign policy / Conflict situations in Africa

 

On the Situation in Liberia

18.07.2003

Moscow continues to closely follow the developments in the situation in Liberia, which remains generally tense and exerts a destabilizing influence not only on the Liberian national reconciliation process, but also on the situation in the West Africa region as a whole.

In the last few days, according to incoming reports, the cease-fire, established in accordance with the reached understanding on the resumption of the peace process on the basis of the cease-fire agreement of June 17, 2003, has been maintained in Monrovia. The capital of Liberia is engulfed by mass demonstrations whose participants are calling for the immediate resignation of President Charles Taylor. The humanitarian situation in the country is extremely difficult.

According to available information, Taylor after his meeting with Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo accepted his offer to grant him shelter in that country and in addition said it was necessary to deploy a stabilization force in Liberia before his departure so as to prevent a new flare-up of disorders and violence.

The questions of stationing a stabilization force in Liberia were discussed at the beginning of this July in Accra at a meeting of the Defense and Security Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). In accordance with the decision adopted at the meeting, it is being planned to send to Liberia a 5,000-strong peacekeeping contingent made up of servicemen from the countries of West Africa and, perhaps, other states. On July 7 a small group of American military experts arrived in Monrovia, whose task is to prepare recommendations on the possibility and advisability of sending to Liberia US troops too as part of that peacekeeping force.

Moscow stands for the earliest possible normalization of the situation in Liberia, and advancement of the peace process. We presume that a decision on deploying to Liberia a multinational UN peacekeeping force with the possible participation of troops from African and other countries should be supported by the Security Council. The SC continues to closely follow the developments in that African country, which a Council Mission visited at the beginning of July, and consultations are being held at the working level with the objective of preparing for discussion in the Security Council of the question of deploying a UN PKO force in Liberia.

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© Publication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

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