Liberia: bishops make urgent appeal for international peace force


 The following joint statement was issued yesterday by Archbishop Michael Francis of Monrovia - chair of Inter-religious Council of Liberia, Bishop Biguzzi of Makeni, Sierra Leone - former chair of Inter-religious Council of Sierra Leone and Bishop Koroma of Kenema, Sierra Leone. We, the Archbishop of Monrovia, Bishop Biguzzi of Makeni and Bishop Koroma of Kenema join together with one voice at this time of crisis to call for help from the United States and the International Community in restoring peace in Liberia and the West African region. We believe that the path to permanent peace lies in the immediate deployment of an international intervention force. Unless urgent action is taken, we fear that the current violence in Liberia will escalate, risking the descent once again of the West African region into war. While President George Bush considers the nature of the United State,s response to the pleas of help from the Liberian people, lives are being lost so we strongly urge him to commit fully to rebuilding peace in Liberia and the West African region. We remind the President of our shared history and the close relationship that Liberia and the United States have shared in the past. For too long the children of West Africa have lost the precious days of childhood to war, for too long they have carried guns and far too many have lost their parents, their homes and their educations to war. An enforced ceasefire, followed by complete enforced disarmament overseen by an international peace enforcement mission, is the only way that Liberia can start the journey towards peace. It is only through these actions that the children of Liberia can face the future with hope not fear. The United States and international community are running out of time to prevent a disaster for the entire West African region. We urge President Bush to immediately commit US forces to a peace enforcement mission while promising long term support to rebuilding a stable Liberia. We speak together with one voice on behalf of the millions of silent victims both living and dead of war in West Africa. Source: CAFOD

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