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This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

Liberia: Action/B'ground Docs,1
Any links to other sites in this file from 1996 are not clickable,
given the difficulty in maintaining up-to-date links in old files.
However, we hope they may still provide leads for your research.
Liberia: Action/B'ground Docs,1
Date Distributed (ymd): 960411

Since the weekend's breakdown of the Liberian peace agreement,
events have moved rapidly.  Despite reports of a renewed
ceasefire early in the week, as of this posting heavy fighting
was still continuing and the West African peacekeeping force
had not yet taken action to stop the fighting.  The action and
background information in this posting and the next, from the
Friends of Liberia and the Africa Faith and Justice Network,
provide information that is still relevant for anyone
concerned about Liberia.  While the media, particularly in the
United States, are putting their primary focus on the
evacuation of foreigners, there is urgent need to refocus on
what can be done to restore the fragile peace.  For more up-
to-date information please be in contact with FOL or AFJN.

****************************************************
Friends of Liberia (FOL)

A Time For Action
Write to President Clinton and Key Government Officials

A Message from FOL's Working Group for Peace

Friends of Liberia's Working Group for Peace has requested
that the U.S. government take effective action in response to
the urgent humanitarian and security situation in Liberia. On
April 8, FOL made its request known to nine key government
officials including President Bill Clinton. We encourage FOL
members and all persons concerned about Liberia to write (and
fax) letters to President Clinton, other officials of
government identified below, and your congressional
representives.

The following list of nine officials have been contacted by
FOL. We present their fax numbers and encourage you to let
them know that the U.S. government must take effective action
to restore security and peace in Liberia. For your reference
we have included (after the list) the text of the FOL Press
Release, letter to President Clinton, and the e-mail address
for requesting FOL's position paper.

So pick up your pen (or tap away on your keyboard) and express
your feelings about Liberia and the need for effective U.S.
engagement in the peace process! It is most effective if you
use your own words and not just copy a form letter. Remember,
every minute counts, so don't delay.

President Bill Clinton 1600 Pennsylvania Ave Washington, D.C.
20500 FAX: 202-456-2883

Senator Nancy Kassebaum SR-302 Russell Senator Office Bld
Washington DC 20510 FAX: 202-224-3514

Senator Paul Simon SD-462 Dirksen Senator Bld Washington, DC
20510 FAX: 202-224-0868

Senator Russell Feingold SH-502 Hart Senate Office Bld
Washington, D.C. 20510 FAX: 202-224-2725

Congressman Benjamin Gilman Chair, Committee on International
Relations US House of Representatives 2449 Rayburn House
Office Bld Washington, D.C. 20515 FAX: 202-225-2035

Congressman Donald Payne Chair, Congressional Black Caucus
2244 Rayburn House Office Bld Washington, D.C. 20515 FAX:
202-225-3436

Ms. Susan Rice Senior Director for Africa National Security
Council Old Executive Office Building Washington, D.C. 20506
FAX: 202-456-9261

MacArthur Deshazer, Director African Affairs National Security
Council Old Executive Office Building Washington, D.C. 20506
FAX: 202-456-9260

Mr. George Moose Assistant Secretary of State for Africa
Department of State Washington, D.C. 20520 FAX: 202-647-6301

=============================
FOL Resource Material Follows
=============================
FOL's Press Release - April 9

NOTE: The FOL Position Paper - Placing the Peace Process Back
on Track, A Critical Time for Action (March 16, 1996) outlines
the weaknesses in the peace process that contributed to the
current conflict in Monrovia and makes specific
recommendations for placing the peace process back on track.
This position paper is available upon request by contacting
kgeorge@interramp.com

Friends of Liberia 1616 North Fort Myer Driver, 12th Floor
Rosslyn, Virginia 22209 703-528-8345 Fax: 703-528-7480
[It is also available, with other documents, news from the Pan African
News Agency and background information, on the Africa News Web
site: http://www.afnews.org/ans/.

STATEMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Date: April 9, 1996
Contact: Kevin George 703-528-8345, Fax: 703-528-7480

Critical Situation in Liberia Requires Urgent Attention of
U.S. Government

Friends of Liberia, an 800 member organization of Americans
supporting peace in Liberia, is gravely concerned about the
deteriorating security situation in Monrovia.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians including almost 500 U.S.
citizens and dozens of international relief workers are in
immediate danger as fighting and looting go unchecked into a
fourth day. It is particularly disturbing that ECOMOG, the
West African Peacekeeping Force, has failed to intervene in
the fighting or indeed to contain it in the first place, when
it was limited to eastern Monrovia. Many of the ULIMO-J
combatants, who undoubtedly have since rearmed, were in ECOMOG
custody just two weeks ago.

We understand that a U.S. military team has arrived in
Monrovia to evaluate the safety needs of U.S. citizens. It is
our hope that this evaluation will lead the United States
government to take effective steps, including the
precautionary movement of troops to the region to protect the
lives of U.S. citizens. The U.S. government should also afford
protection to other nationals who are working with the United
Nations or the NGO's engaged in providing humanitarian
assistance. News reports on the number of people in the U.S.
Embassy compound and estimates of the number who are scattered
throughout the city and hostage-taking by factions make this
a potentially precarious operation. It is essential that the
resources be made available to ensure the effectiveness of the
operation that is established to protect U.S. citizens.

The failure of the peacekeeping operation in Liberia should
not serve as an excuse for the withdrawal of the U.S.
government from the effort to bring peace to Liberia. That
would play into the hands of faction leaders who may welcome
the withdrawal of world interest. U.S. withdrawal would result
in the complete collapse of peace efforts and contribute to an
already dangerous regional situation. Any downgrading of U.S.
government involvement in the process to bring peace and
democracy to Liberia will be strongly objected to by Liberia's
many supporters in the United States.

FOL believes that the U.S. government has a critical role to
play given the ineffectiveness of ECOWAS and the United
Nations in averting the current crisis. In a letter delivered
to the White House on Monday, Friends of Liberia requested
that President Clinton take two immediate steps as part of the
proactive response of the U.S. government to the situation in
Liberia.

First, the U.S. government should make an urgent request for
ECOMOG to fulfill its mandate to protect civilians in
Monrovia. If that means supplying the transportation for
troops from other ECOWAS nations, we should assist in that
effort. We should be prepared to provide to ECOMOG the
resources necessary to effectively conduct an operation that
protects civilians and isolates groups of combatants.

Second, U.S. Special Envoy Dane Smith should be the point
person for a well-focused U.S. effort that strengthens the
capability of ECOWAS to regain control of a peace process that
has gone dangerously astray.

An analysis of the situation in Liberia is inadequate unless
it takes into account the strong desire of the vast majority
of Liberians for an end to the conflict and a transition to a
democratic form of government. These very civilians whose
lives are at risk today would lose any chance for democracy
tomorrow should the world fail to intervene.

***********************************************************
Relevant documents posted previously on the Africa Policy
Electronic Distribution list include the following:

Liberia: U.S. Policy (part 1) (950916)

Liberia: U.S. Policy (part 2) (950916)

Liberia: More U.S. Support Needed (951022)

Name=Liberia: UN Report (excerpts) (960129)


These documents can be found at the addresses indicated on the
World Wide Web, or retrieved by e-mail using the WebMail or
Agora servers.  Response times from these and other mail
servers may vary significantly depending on your location and
network traffic.

To retrieve a file using agora, send a message to
agora@kamakura.mss.co.jp,
containing the command:
send [url]

To retrieve a file using WebMail, send a message to
webmail@www.ucc.ie,
containing the command: get [url]

In each case, for [url], substitute the precise URL of the
file.  For further instructions on using these servers send a
message "help" to agora@kamakura.mss.co.jp or
webmail@www.ucc.ie respectively.

************************************************************
This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the
Washington Office on Africa (WOA), a not-for-profit church,
trade union and  civil rights group supported organization
that works with Congress on Africa-related legislation. WOA's
educational affiliate is the Africa Policy Information Center
(APIC).

************************************************************

URL for this file: http://www.africafocus.org/docs96/lib9604.1.php