Liberia

US envoy to Liberia calls on President Rawlings

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ACCRA, Ghana (PANA) - Ghana's President Jerry John Rawlings said here Sunday that the change in the chairmanship of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will not affect the organization's programme for war-torn Liberia.
Rawlings, whose term as ECOWAS chairman ends this month, said whoever assumes the position will definitely seek an end to the carnage in Liberia.

He made these observations when an American delegation led by Howard Jeter, the new United States Special Envoy to Liberia, called on him at the Castle, Osu.

The president said even though the optimism expressed about peace in Liberia has been elusive, "there is a strong feeling now that we are on the threshold of peace than ever before."

He said this is, however, based on the renewed commitment shown by the various factional leaders to bring matters to an end.

"It is up to all of us to make sure that we nail this problem in the coffin and bring a new lease of life to our brothers and sisters in Liberia."

The president reiterated the need for the United States and the international community to make good their promises, adding: "if all could cooperate in this effort at bringing peace to Liberia, it would bring about peace."

Welcoming the delegation earlier, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, Ghana's deputy minister of Foreign Affairs, expressed Accra's appreciation for the interest being shown by the United States for the Liberian crisis and its efforts aimed at bringing peace to the war-torn country.

He said the fighting which erupted last April set the peace process back.

"But through the efforts of President Rawlings, ECOMOG has reasserted itself, bringing about peace and creating safe havens where civilians go about their normal lives," he added.

Chambas emphasized the need to put back on track the Abuja Peace Accord, saying the forthcoming ECOWAS summit in Abuja offers the best opportunity to impress upon the various factions that the only option left is to restore peace.

Meanwhile, Jeter said he had been to Liberia to interact with ECOMOG to see how the U.S. can help the force.

He praised President Rawlings's untiring efforts at ensuring peace in Liberia.

"The U.S administration is happy at the superb job you are doing as chairman of ECOWAS, and hopes that, with you around, we will make progress."

Present at the meeting were Captain Kojo Tsikata, special envoy of the chairman of ECOWAS, Brig. Francis Agyenfra, chief of staff, Ghana Armed Forces, and Victor Gbeho, special representative of the ECOWAS chairman to Liberia.

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