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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 July, 2003, 16:51 GMT 17:51 UK
African papers condemn Liberia delays

With the death toll rising rapidly in the battle between the Liberian Government and rebels for control of Monrovia, the African press is unimpressed with the pace of efforts to bring an end to the conflict.

"To the continent's discredit, Africa has reacted to the crisis with the customary speed of a snail," South Africa's Business Day comments.

"Instead of finding solutions, our leaders are bogged down in issues of process.

"In the Liberia case, Africa should be exhorting the leaders of west Africa to use their influences and leverage to prevent further violence by controlling their borders and not allowing the flow of weapons into the country."

Impotence

Senegal's Le Soleil agrees. "It is as if the international community, but also the African community, were admitting their impotence and waiting for chaos in Liberia before they act," it laments.

Taylor wants to stay to the bitter end
Fraternite Matin, Ivory Coast

It might appear difficult to interfere in a country's internal affairs, the paper reasons, "but between that and remaining passive observers of this tragedy, there are steps which could and should have been taken."

But Nigeria's Guardian is unhappy about that country's continued involvement in Liberian affairs.

"Two steps taken recently indicate unequivocally that Nigeria is once again spearheading a potentially costly initiative supposedly to bring peace to war-ravaged Liberia," it writes.

"The earlier intervention from 1990 to 1997," it reminds readers, "was a fiasco that resulted in huge losses in human and material terms.

"Nigeria should explore other ways in conjunction with Ecowas and other interested parties to bring peace to Liberia. Nigeria's human and material sacrifices are enough already", the paper says.

Taylor's refuge

The Guardian is incensed by President Olusegun Obasanjo's offer of asylum in Nigeria to beleaguered Liberian President Charles Taylor.

"Nigeria already has enough international problems to grapple with," the paper says. "These should not be compounded by providing a roof for Taylor."

Fraternite Matin in the Ivory Coast is also no fan of President Taylor.

What Africa needs is not endless aid but respect
Monitor, Uganda

"Taylor wants to stay to the bitter end. In spite of the war which is raging in Monrovia. In spite of the hospitality offered him by Obasanjo," it says.

"The old warrior is clinging on, leaving behind him a field of ruins," the paper says, adding that the consequences for the Liberian economy and people matter little to him: President Taylor wants to "cling on to power at any cost".

Cri du coeur

Further afield, Uganda's Monitor is not inclined to dwell on African shortcomings.

"What Africa needs is not endless aid, but respect," the paper says, "and an end to US- and European-sponsored conflicts that have ruined our various economies."

The conflicts in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Angola have "all been sponsored and nurtured by these so-called democrats".

"The oil struggles in Sudan and in the Horn of Africa are all foreign-sponsored. We want all these conflicts ended."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.




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