8 July 2003


NEW YORK, 7 July (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General welcomes President Taylor’s decision to resign from office and leave Liberia in the interest of peace in his country.  The Secretary-General sees this development as a significant turning point as Liberia strives to move from war to peace.  He recalls that the President’s decision is consistent with the undertaking he announced on 4 June 2003 in Accra at the opening of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)-sponsored peace talks on Liberia.

The Secretary-General calls on the Liberian people to build on the momentum generated by President Taylor’s decision and work together in the national interest and in a spirit of reconciliation and mutual accommodation in order to achieve an early comprehensive peace agreement, which would help restore genuine and lasting democracy to their country.  As a first step to that end, the Secretary-General encourages the Liberian stakeholders to elaborate an inclusive and orderly transitional arrangement as envisaged in the 17 June ceasefire agreement.

As the people of Liberia embark on turning a new page towards a more peaceful future, the Secretary-General strongly believes that concrete and immediate steps should be taken to end the widespread suffering and oppression which warlords, militia forces and other armed groups have for far too long inflicted on Liberian society.  The Secretary-General reminds all concerned that they would be held individually and collectively accountable for the perpetration of gross human rights violations and war crimes.


The Secretary-General reaffirms the commitment of the United Nations to continue to work with ECOWAS and other international partners, to support the early restoration of sustainable peace and stability to Liberia, including through the deployment of a multinational stabilization force.  

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