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General News of Thursday, 31 July 2003

Source: GNA

Ghanaian Troops For Liberia

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.... As ECOWAS Agrees to deploy troops by Monday
Accra, July 31, GNA - The Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Thursday formally approved the deployment into Liberia of the ECOWAS Vanguard Interposition Force by Monday, August 4.

It also called on Ghana, Mali, Benin and Togo to ensure an early deployment of the additional troops within three weeks of the deployment of the 1,500 Nigerian troops.

The approval was contained in a 28-point communiqu=E9 issued at the end of a day's extraordinary Summit of ECOWAS organized in Accra to discuss the deployment of troops to war-ravaged Liberia and the funding of the peacekeeping mission.

The Authority called for the establishment of Transitional Government in Liberia upon the deployment of the troops and the departure of President Charles Taylor, which would begin the process for the restoration of democratic governance.

They expressed the wish that the Transitional Government operates as closely as possible to the 1986 Liberian Constitution.

The Authority decided to dispatch to Monrovia a four-man delegation made up of the Foreign Ministers of Ghana, Nigeria, Togo and the Executive Secretary of ECOWAS to inform President Taylor about the outcome of the Summit and to make arrangements for his handover of power and departure from Liberia.

It said the first task of the Vanguard Force should be to provide the appropriate conditions for the handover of power and departure from Liberia of President Taylor.

The communique said the Authority agreed that within three days of the entry of the ECOWAS troops into Liberia, President Taylor would handover power to his successor and depart for Nigeria. They were of the view that no leader of the three warring parties should occupy the positions of President and Vice President in the Transitional Government of Liberia.

The Authority reiterated the position of ECOWAS on the non-recognition of any takeover of power by force and thus re-affirmed their support for the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance of 2001 and the African Union's 1999 decision in Algiers both of which condemned unconstitutional change of government.

They also re-affirmed the commitments made under the 1978 ECOWAS Protocol on non-aggression and not to encourage or condone acts of subversion; hostility or aggression against the territorial integrity of other member states and committed themselves to disallow the use of their territories for mercenary activities.

The Authority, therefore, called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and respect by the warring parties - LURD, MODEL and Government of Liberia - for their commitments under the ceasefire agreement signed in Accra on June 17.

They called upon the Liberian stakeholders at the Accra Peace Talks to re-double their efforts to arrive at a comprehensive peace agreement and expressed their appreciation to General Abubakar Abdulsalami for the time and effort he is dedicating to the mediation process and commended members of the International Contact Group on Liberia (ICGL) for facilitating the process.

The Authority committed itself to an immediate financial contribution into ECOWAS Peace Fund, which would help facilitate the deployment of the ECOWAS Mission in Liberia (ECOMIL)

They also agreed that an assessed contribution should be paid by each member state into the Fund to ensure a proportional sharing of the burden of the peace effort in Liberia.

The Authority welcomed the support so far offered to ECOWAS by the international community in particular - the United Nations the European Union, the United States and Japan.

Two Heads of State, President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo, Madam Isatou Njie-Saidy, Vice President of The Gambia, Mr Lamine Sidime, Prime Minister of Guinea and representatives from Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Niger, Benin, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone attended the meeting

Mr Nyundueh Monokormana, Speaker of the Liberian Parliament represented his country also present was Mr Ahmedou Ould Abdallah, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for the United Nations Office in West Africa.

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