British Caritas urges International Forces for Liberia
The Caritas member organisation in England and Wales has called upon Prime Minister Tony Blair to encourage US President George Bush to back an international peace enforcement force for Liberia.
Over recent weeks, the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) has grown increasingly concerned by reports from its Liberian partners about the country's deteriorating situation.
Responding to pleas from its partners, CAFOD has decided to take the highly unusual step of calling for UN led military invention to enforce the current ceasefire between government and rebel forces. CAFOD believes the immediate deployment of an international force with a clear United Nations mandate for peace enforcement is the only path to lasting peace in Liberia.
It says recent history of conflict in the region suggests that the current ceasefire between government and rebel forces is unlikely to hold for long and if violence escalates in Liberia there is a strong possibility that it will destabilise neighbouring countries, in particular Sierra Leone, Guinea and the Ivory Coast.
In a statment, CAFOD argued that US backing for an intervention force is crucial for its fast and effective deployment.
"The US has strong historical links to Liberia and by providing forces to join an international UN led force, President George Bush could send a clear message of support to the region's people."
CAFOD | As fighting escalates in Liberia, CAFOD talks to Archbishop of Monrovia, Michael Francis | Background feature on Liberia
Liberian Rebels Announce Ceasefire (AP)
Dilemma over troops to Liberia (Christian Science Monitor)
Crisis grows in Liberia as US debates decision to send troops (Independent, UK)
Catholic support for US role in Liberia (11/7/03)
US Bishops: Letter to Honorable Condoleezza Rice, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, on Liberia
23 Jul 2003