(July 30, 2003) — Today a devastating war in Liberia is displacing thousands, spreading disease, destroying families and communities, and threatening to further unravel the region of West Africa. The warring groups, the people of Liberia, and the international community have all called on the US to help lead an international peacekeeping effort to restore order and open the way for a political resolution of the conflict. Liberian President Charles Taylor has said he will step down from power, but only after US peacekeepers have arrived. Unfortunately, the US has not yet answered the call to help with a clear and adequate commitment.
ACTION: Please contact your representative today and urge her or him to cosponsor H.Con.Res. 240, calling on the US to take a lead in supporting an end to hostilities, deploying an international stabilization force, and providing humanitarian assistance. Ask her or him to tell the President that the US must take a lead in helping end the violence in Liberia. The US has strong historical ties to Liberia and played a role over many years in fueling conflict in the country and the region. The US must now play a role in restoring peace and rebuilding democracy in Liberia.
CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVE IS EASY: Start with the sample letter posted in our Legislative Action Center, personalize the language, then email or fax your message directly from our site. You can also print it out and mail it. To view the sample letter, click on the link below, then scroll down to the bottom of the Alert. Here is the link:
BACKGROUND: On July 26, President Bush ordered the Pentagon to position a limited number of Marines off the coast of Liberia to support West African peacekeepers. The US also pledged to provide $10 million to cover some peacekeeping costs. However, without assurance that the US will provide more active and substantial support in a peacekeeping effort, under-resourced African peacekeepers are hesitant to initiate a much-needed mission to stabilize the country and restore order.
On July 7, Rep. Donald Payne (NJ) and a small group of Members of Congress introduced H.Con.Res. 240, calling on the US to take a lead in supporting an end to hostilities, deploying an international stabilization force and providing humanitarian assistance. The resolution also urges the international community to support long-term political transition and reconstruction. Many Members of Congress realize the importance of US leadership in Liberia and would support sending US peacekeepers and contributing to the long-term work of rebuilding the country. However, they remain hesitant to speak out publicly because the President has not yet acted.
For more information, including FCNL’s letter to the President, letter to Congress, policy recommendations, and background information on the conflict, click here http://www.fcnl.org/issues/int/liberia_indx.htm
Friends Committee on National Legislation, 245 2nd ST NE, Washington, DC 20002, (800)630-1330. To learn more about FCNL’s lobbying and educational programs, go to