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

"Taylor repeated that he would like to have a chance to refute such allegation. 'You should be talking to us, not talking at us.' An agitated NPP chairman, Cyril Allen, jumped in noting that the accusations against OTC on deforestation were out of context and unnecessary, forgetting that Taylor himself had raised this issue. 'They had nothing to do with Sierra Leone. When meetings are set up, a line should be drawn about what is discussed.' Jackson noted that this was a difficult setting, but since we had this opportunity for open dialogue, we should use it. Allen said that bringing up OTC was not friendly and another example of rumour mongering. Taylor interjected, 'I think the observations have been made. It is not bad. There are problems we have to deal with.' He added, 'I want to rebuild this relationship. It is the absence of bringing it up that keeps us from moving ahead.' He then noted that Liberia is turning out to be a linchpin on lots of activities in West Africa. He said he hoped that things would work out in Sierra Leone, then noted, 'Don't let Cote d'Ivoire break up. That's a bigger case.' Taylor emphasised his good relations with Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and others. He said that if Liberia's economy was stronger, he would we able to become ECOWAS chairman in a few months, but without resources, he could not take on the responsibility. Jackson then reinforced the need for ongoing dialogue that did not side step or avoid issues due to diplomatic niceties.

Turning the conversation again to Sierra Leone, John T Richardson noted that it is quite clear that the SLA and the Kamajors had re-armed during the crisis, but the US government is constantly calling for the RUF to disarm. Richardson emphasised that disarmament of all parties had to be simultaneous. Jeter retorted that prior to 1 May, the vast majority of DDR participants were SLA or Kamajors. Jeter reminded that it had been the RUF which had disarmed UNAMSIL Guineans when they first arrived, an early and clear violation.

Taylor turned to the upcoming ECOWAS summit in Nigeria. He re-emphasised that the release of the hostages has to happen. It will happen. He noted that Kabbah is the person under the Lome Accords who has to enforce them. At the 9 May ECOWAS summit on Sierra Leone, Kabbah's position was that he couldn't control the mobs that ended up ransacking Sankoh's house on 8 May. Taylor said Kabbah should have taken responsibility and that he should have been able to stop the crowds.

Taylor then noted that Kabbah's lack of control was worrisome, as Liberian opposition groups ULIMO-J and K are all now in Freetown."

Is that true?

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