Sant'Egidio Helped Mediate Liberia's Truce

Rebel Leader Visited Catholic Group in Rome for Talks

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ROME, AUG. 20, 2003 ( The Community of Sant’Egidio, which was a mediator in bringing the fighting in Liberia to an end, hailed the peace agreement signed in Ghana on Monday.

The signing is «a decisive step for the process of peace and reconciliation, extremely necessary for one of the poorest countries of the world, at war for almost 15 years,» said the Rome-based Catholic movement in a press statement issued Tuesday.

Sant’Egidio sources said their group played a key role in promoting the peace agreement in the framework of the Economic Community of West African States and other international organizations.

Sant’Egidio «has worked ceaselessly for a negotiated composition, even during the weeks of the siege of Monrovia, when it seemed that the conflict would end in a new civil war,» the statement said.

When peace talks in Accra, Ghana, stalled in June and July, a delegation of the main rebel group, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), went to Rome on several occasions to engage in negotiations at the Sant’Egidio headquarters.

«Following these talks, the will arose to declare a cease-fire for humanitarian reasons and, subsequently, the intention of the LURD leader to travel to Accra to discuss with the other parties a political solution to the conflict,» the Sant’Egidio press statement said.

It also published a statement signed by LURD’s leader, Sekou Damate Conneh, in Rome on Aug. 4, confirming this information.

Sant’Egidio has more than 40,000 members involved in evangelization and charitable works in more than 60 countries.

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