The transcripts of the trial of Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia. More…

"It will be recalled that in the 1997 elections, the US government failed to assist with funding and logistics to hold the special elections that brought the war to an end. By now calling for the United Nations to assist with the elections, the US is once again giving indications that it does not intend to assist the Independent Elections Commission with funding and logistics. Besides, Liberia is not a mandated territory and strongly objects to any insinuation that an outside agency should supervise the elections. The government welcomes any number of monitors to observe the elections, but not to supervise it.

US-Liberia relations, which way?

In spite of its best efforts to pursue its constructive engagement policy with the United States, the Liberian government is convinced that such initiatives are not being reciprocated. Nevertheless, the US must understand certain truths about Liberia:

1. The Taylor administration is not anti-American.

2. The government and people of Liberia will do nothing to adversely affect American interests in Liberia.

3. The Taylor administration is firmly committed to the free enterprise system, democratic governance, the holding of free and fair elections, the protection of human rights, freedom of the press and the rule of law.

The Liberian government believes that the best way to build confidence and improve relations is that the US and Liberia should be talking to each other, and not at each other through press releases and counter press releases.

The US should endeavour to keep its promises to the government and people of Liberia and not continuously sweep the rug from under our feet. The goal post should not be continually moved every time Liberia accedes to new US demands there appears to be progress on the key issues.

There is a strong sense of frustration among Liberians from all walks of life that the US is not dealing honestly with Liberia, and that her policy lacks consistency. In fact, Liberians are convinced that US policy toward Liberia is really 'no policy', or a 'hands off' policy.

While Liberia is not deterred in pursuing its constructive engagement policy, it must be made clear that it is the responsibility of the government to seek the welfare of the people, maintain peace and stability and discourage any attempt by anyone to drive a wedge in the unity and cohesion of the Liberian population. The United States must therefore strongly reconsider the implications of its intrusive policy as it targets certain disadvantaged groups to institute so-called social and political change. Any misguided change without due process could be disastrous for the future of Liberia as the 1980 ill-advised military coup and the prolonging of the 1990 civil war have proven.

As much as Liberia cherishes its historic relations with the US, the neglect and apathy exhibited by the US towards Liberia is creating widespread anti-American sentiments. Liberians across the board feel betrayed and disappointed over US policy, no matter how many toilets are built in ghettos or how much money is given to local NGOs. The strongest sentiment pervading the consciousness of every Liberian as elections unfold is that America, if you cannot help an old friend, please don't hurt us."

Now, Mr Taylor, what was it that prompted that press release?

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