Wednesday, 29 October 2003

Monrovia (Fides Service)- “This is the usual ballet about appointments which weighs on the shoulders of the poor people” Father Mauro Armanino SMA Provincial tells Fides commenting the compromise reached between LURD (Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy), the main group of rebels in Liberia and Gyude Bryant, head of the recently installed transitional national unity government. Bryant has agreed to review certain appointments of LURD and government members and in exchange the rebels say they will not suspend disarmament operations.
“Rather than follow the politicians’ dancing it should be emphasised that so far this government has control only of Monrovia and surrounding area but the rest of the country is left to itself, says Father Armanino. “People see leaders and officials coming and going in big cars, but the situation remains pretty much the same. One might also question the role of international humanitarian organisations workers and officials who go from one tragedy to the next with a certain degree of ease: could it be that a certain manner of understanding humanitarian aid serves international bureaucracy more than the actual people it intends to help?”
“Even the so-called civil society is in danger of falling prey to the games of politicians many of whom ruined their reputation with the regime led by the former Taylor” says Father Mauro who adds “These considerations in no way intend to suffocate hopes for a better future on the contrary they intend to stimulate research for different paths: the problem is above all how to renew the country’s political culture ruined by years of civil war ”.
Liberia is labouring to find the exit to civil war which started at the end of 1999. On 18 August the Liberian government and the two main rebels groups LURD and MODEL (Movement for Democracy in Liberia), signed a peace agreement on the basis of which a transition government was established with the task of preparing for elections within two years. The transition government became operative on 14 October. In the meantime power was assumed by Moses Blah. The agreement was signed a week after the departure of Charles Taylor, now in exile in Nigeria. The international court for Sierra Leone has charged Taylor, elected in 1997, with crimes against humanity. In mid October businessman Gyude Bryant, was elected premier of the temporary government.
To help the peace process an international peace keeping force of 3.250 men is being deployed mostly from West Africa Economic Community countries (ECOWS/CEMAC). (L.M.) (Fides Service 29/10/2003 lines 37 words 470)