Sant'Egidio Community Appeals for a Return to Talks in Liberia

ROME, JULY 3, 2003 ( A mediator in the Liberian conflict has appealed to both the government and a rebel group for a cease-fire and a return to talks.

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«It is necessary to put an end to the armed confrontations and to seek a political solution without further bloodshed,» the Rome-based Community of Sant’Egidio said in a statement.

The situation in Liberia has led U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to ask the Security Council for a rapid decision on the possibility of sending an international peace-keeping force to the African country.

Two failed attacks by the rebels in Monrovia last month resulted in some 700 dead and thousands of refugees. On Wednesday, John Paul II appealed for an end to the violence.

The country’s situation has deteriorated in the wake of the Accra-Akosombo agreements and a cease-fire announced June 7 by the rebel Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD).

Sant’Egidio, a lay movement in the Church, has made it a priority «to put an end to the suffering of the civilian population.»

Among other things, Sant’Egidio promotes peace plans and the resolution of conflicts. The movement helped mediate an end to civil wars in Mozambique and Guatemala.

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