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Last Updated: Monday, 20 October, 2003, 18:19 GMT 19:19 UK
Can peace be restored to Liberia?
Gyude Bryant
Gyude Bryant, who was chosen as Liberia's new transitional president at peace talks in Ghana in August, has been sworn into office.

Following 14 years of civil conflict, Mr Bryant and his team have the task of preparing and leading the country to election in two years time.

In the meantime, a bigger United Nations peacekeeping force has begun to arrive in the country to provide nationwide security.

Can the new leadership be successful? Can the humanitarian crisis in Liberia now be resolved?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The comments published reflect the balance of views received:

Thanks to the international community and UN Secretary General for the speedy action taken to help Liberia. Yes, peace can be restored to Liberia. The Bryant government has a greater opportunity to pave the way to a peaceful election and secure peace for Liberia. Mr. Bryant will have to attack issues that have been the causes of instability. He must include in his agenda to question the dishonesty of government officials - corrupt officials must be brought to justice. The Liberians must stand behind the UN to prosecute anyone who has helped to create the shameful and embarrassing conditions Liberians have undergone over the years. If this happens, future leaders and officials will be mindful how they handling business in the interest of our people.
JR Jones, Liberia/USA

Peace in Liberia is inevitable because of the level of international commitment
Robert A. Butler, Liberian-living in America
I do strongly believed that what happens for you on the outside depends on what's going on with you on the inside, and that success is not something that come to the outside world to you, but rather something that grows outward from within you to the world. If this statement is proven true, then, we all can agree to say that the restoration of "PEACE" to Liberia is a collective work that we all will have to shoulder than leaving it with Chairman Bryant alone.

Liberians have learnt from their past mistakes and are going to use their flaws to rethink themselves and to never make such an error in their life again. Finally, I believe that peace in Liberia is inevitable because of the level of international commitment that the world is putting in and as well as the level of understandable errors that we dare not repeat its lesson.
Robert A. Butler, Liberian-living in America

The matter of peace in Liberia will be a matter of choice of the Liberians. I think the road to peace is far because in a war like Liberia all the parties can't be satisfied. When Charles Taylor began his role all thought peace will rein but it wasn't the case. Peace, will come to Liberia if only the whole nation can stand up whether satisfied or not, and pray for long lasting peace.
Dobdinga Cletus, Cameroon

The success of Mr. Bryant's interim administration will depend on his overall vision
Sahr B. Marrah, Washington D C/Sierra Leone
The success of Mr. Bryant's interim administration in Liberia will depend on his overall vision and leadership style for the country. I think Mr. Bryant should use his business skills to provide opportunities for the Liberian people, including jobs, education, and access to healthcare.
Sahr B. Marrah, Washington D C/Sierra Leone

Peace and reconciliation will not happen until real issues such as equitable use of the nation's resources for its people are addressed. The appointment of Gyude Bryant is an opportunity for the West to show that it can positively control its hunger for diamonds and other exportable goods from Africa. The international peacekeepers should have a robust mandate and be ready for a long stay.
Rev. Doye Agama, UK

Yes, peace will be restored in Liberia. As long as all the war lords are disarmed and brought to justice, along with all their blood thirsty rebels.
Princess Metuge, Liberia

It has since been the resurrection of a deferred dream for me when the Taylor regime finally came to an end. This in itself is a sign of a lasting peace returning to Liberia. The peace will be successful because of Gyude Bryant's neutrality in the entire one and a half decade brutal civil war. Another reason is all the neighbouring countries that the disgraced exiled Liberian president has terrorised are supporting this new administration and are equally determined to see peace in the sub-region.
Othello Garblah, Ghana

As a black American, I'm particularly concerned that my government and my fellow brethren have contributed little toward peace restoration, infrastructure, and democracy in a country that was founded by our "cousins." It's our moral obligation to help ensure that Liberia's future reflects its name: liberty! May the new leadership be successful in unifying Liberia towards a positive future for all its people, within the country and with other nations.
Mara Riley, USA

We should not expect things to change overnight
Anna, Liberia
I believe that peace can be restored over a long period of time. Mr. Bryant seems willing to give his all. This is a complex situation; therefore we should not expect things to change overnight. My hope for my people is that we will put aside our differences and try to work with the new leadership in bringing lasting peace to our nation.
Anna, Liberia

Peace is now at the doors of all Liberians, knocking and waiting for permission to enter. Mr. Gyude Bryant is a messenger selected by God to deliver the good news to the people but, he needs the support of all people living in and outside of the country as well as the neighbouring countries. It was once thought that this conflict was only the Liberians' problem but history proved everyone wrong to that effect so, let's all rally around him. The success of Mr. Bryant as a leader rest in our hands.
Alfred, USA

Hopefully, Gyude Bryant's leadership will restore peace in Liberia and the humanitarian crisis will be resolved. The restoration of peace in Liberia actually depends on the efforts all Liberians including all signatories to the peace plan agreement that was initiated in Ghana. If the signatories cooperate and adhere to the peace plan agreement that they all initiated in Ghana, peace will definitely be restored. On the other hand, if they don't, peace will be somehow impossible.
F. F. Carter, U.S.A

Issues of justice and reconciliation must be addressed, not swept under the rug
Chernor Jalloh, Canada/Sierra Leone
For peace to last in Liberia, issues of justice and reconciliation must be addressed, not swept under the rug. It is clear that Mr. Bryant is faced with a difficult task. Success does not so much depend on him as much as it is on the rest of Liberians, especially the leaders of LURD and MODEL. Liberians must choose peace in order to succeed in eradicating war.
Chernor Jalloh, Canada/Sierra Leone

The new leadership will be successful, because Mr. Bryant is God fearing and he did not play a principal role in breaking law and order in Liberia. Therefore God will use him in order to stabilise the country and bring peace among the people. The humanitarian crisis can be resolved with the help of the United Nations peacekeeping force having a successful disarmament among warring factions and the cooperation of the international bodies to supply Liberians with all necessary humanitarian needs. Without the support of the international communities there will be no success. Apparently, this is the doom of the night, that the country is coming out of the ashes with nothing attached. Therefore, the oldest African nation has turned into a new nation, and need every assistance from other countries for survival.
Zobon M. Hubbard, USA

After 14 years of destruction and chaos in Liberia, it is time that we come together as a people and give the powers that be, a chance to restore our dignity and civility and to be once more a part of the human family. We've all lost love ones, properties and a sense of nationhood. Liberia is not unique in what we've just experienced. Out of our plight, we now have the chance to regroup, put our collective ideas together, and rebuild our nation to an even better and greater future for our Children, their Children, and generations yet to come. May God bless us all in our endeavours.
Charles Goodridge, USA

May God grant him the sense of duty and integrity
Joseph Kaifala, Sierra Leone

Tears ran down my eyes as I again saw images from Liberia with the fortunate survivors bearing banners of welcome. Looking constantly at the different faces of Mr.Bryant, I saw the innocence and bravery to accept the task of Uniting Liberians. It's going to be tough, but I have no doubt that at this moment the right man is Bryant. May God grant him the sense of duty and integrity.
Joseph Kaifala, Sierra Leone

While I applaud Mr. Bryant's determination to rid the country of guns and maintain peace in Liberia, he has no mandate from anyone to give blanket amnesty to individuals who killed innocent citizens. The culture of impunity must be stopped by bringing those who committed atrocities to account for their acts. This has got nothing to do with retribution. Mr. Bryant ought to focus, instead, on how to revive the infrastructure of the failed state. Such reckless remarks may inflame an already pathetic situation.
George Siaway, USA

Let us forget about the things that has happened in the past about leaders in Liberia. I think Bryant stands a better chance with the help of UN and the International community to show greater change in the country.
Methodius C, Nigeria / Italy

There should be retributions for those who masterminded the barbaric and senseless plans which took thousands of innocent lives. The past seems over but these crimes should never be forgotten. Some form of justice should be meted out to maybe serve as a deterrent to these. When we break the restraints of the moral codes which keep us from acting like the beasts of the field, we should be penalized. The latter is the essence of a civil human society governed by respect and tolerance for others.
Laude Gaba, USA

Peace in Liberia needs strong support from the west
Topi Lappalainen, Finland
I wish Mr Bryant the best of luck with his job that has to be among the most difficult in the whole world. Peace in Liberia needs strong support from the west, especially the US. All international efforts should be made to make sure that the elections will be truly democratic. For that purpose, disarming the warlords should be first priority for Liberia.
Topi Lappalainen, Finland

I was very pleased to read that our new leader has taken some steps in the right direction. That is, doing away with the monopoly of trade especially with imports of rice and fuel. Liberians must now be encouraged to engage in all types of business for the restoration our failed and fragile economy. I must commend the new leader and pray that he puts Liberia first in all that he does and do away with self enrichment.
Alvin Johnson, USA

The new leadership can only be successful with the commitment of the warring parties to fully disarm and the international community to live up to their commitment to ensure the full implementation of the Accra Peace Accord.
Dolores Edwards, Liberia

The new leadership can be successful only with the co-operation of all Liberians. If a section of the Liberian populace, especially those who call themselves rebels decide to kick against success, peace in Liberia will be a mirage.
Daliesor Thomas, Ghana

With the help of the of the United Nations, I think things will be ok.
Anthony Watson, Liberia

We have to forget about the past
Richleu Gehyeka, USA/Liberia
Now is the time for all of us Liberian to come together and help in rebuilding our country. We have to forget about the past and concentrate on what the future of our beloved nation is going to be. Let us all help Mr Bryant to stabilize our country.
Richleu Gehyeka, USA/Liberia

As we welcome Gyude Bryant and his crew, let us retrospect and weed-out the symptoms of war (i.e. suppression, rampant corruption, nepotism, and other forms of discrimination) and emerge intelligibly a new sense of direction. We can achieve this gallantry, if we allow freedom, equal social justice, and peace to permeate the core fabric of our society.
Arthur Zakama Jr, USA/Liberia

Hopefully he will bring peace to Liberia. His objectives are clearly defined, and he has the support of the warring factions and the international community. Therefore, he must use these advantages to create resources that will help bring to the people of Liberia.
Irving B. Kermee, Liberia

Gyude Bryant is the right person to help bring peace to Liberia. However, for peace to last, the UN and the international community must continue to maintain a presence in the country for some time and continue to monitor the behaviour of those elected to high office. They must never allow warlords who are greedy for political power take up arms against the Liberian people and their legitimate government.

The UN must never again allow dictatorships, in any form, take power and maintain it by the use of the gun. The ballot box should be the only means by which individuals can obtain power, and the rule of law must be upheld by each established government. African leaders who exploit their countrymen must be held accountable for their actions by the international community.
Wendell C., United States

Yes. I want to believe he can restore peace and bring back democracy to Liberia if he is given a free hand to rule, without dictation or interference from anybody that was formally in Charles Tylor's cabinet or government.
Christopher Oboh, Nigeria

One can't help, despite the optimism of the moment, of feeling a twinge of anxiety
P Van Gylswyk, South Africa
One can't help, despite the optimism of the moment, of feeling a twinge of anxiety. From experience and from the lessons of the past, there will be no real or lasting peace if Taylor is still a free man and not in a prison cell, totally isolated from the world. Will the new transitional president be able to gain control over the interior and all the vested interests in the lumber industry (OTC for example), the gun and diamond running businesses? Time well hopefully tell.
P Van Gylswyk, South Africa

The humanitarian crisis can be resolved only if the new leadership remain sincere and committed as its chairman underscored in his induction address. One major qualm I have about the leadership is that the chairman is too business minded not to have interest outside his political office and I believe that his vice will be using this distraction to enhance his own political objectives through his party (UPP). If only Bryant can keep his focus on the resolution of the crisis then Liberia is on course for success.
John K. Wangolo, Liberia

Honestly, if only President Gyude Bryant liked his people and does not come into this set to enrich himself, then Liberia people will sing a new song of peace. Also, Liberians should join hands to build up their nation once again. I wish then now an ever lasting peace. Long Live Liberia, Long live President Gyude Bryant
Ada Bangs, Sierra Leone

There will only be peace in Liberia when there is sincere efforts by Liberians themselves are ready to embrace peace so as to move their country forward. And I think that can be done.
Fustina Ikiriko, Nigeria

Yes peace can be restored in Liberia if the people in position are honest and willing to serve their country with the backing of their fellow Liberians. One heart put hands together become one. Without giving them arms from all over the world. Anything that has a beginning must have an end. The journey of thousand miles began with a step.
M B Sulaiman, Nigeria

The leadership can be successful if and only if it is committed to the task that lies ahead
Alvin Johnson, USA
The leadership can be successful if and only if it is committed to the task that lies ahead. It must be very aggressive in its actions for lasting peace in our home. I hope and trust that Mr, Bryant will work assiduously to restore some basic needs for the citizens of this great nation. I wish him God's bountiful blessings as steer the country to general elections.
Alvin Johnson, USA

I am so glad about the new Liberia's transitional president. We in Sierra Leone are tired of the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Liberia. We pray that this peace will be an everlasting one. By the special grace of God. Long live Liberia, Long live President Gyude Bryant.
Adama Dumbuya, Sierra Leone

Yes! I strongly believe that peace can be achieved in Liberia. Look at the people - Liberians are peace loving and friendly. It's only a few selfish ones that disrupted and still wants to disrupt peace. Peace can be restored only if they keep there eyes on the ball! Focus and diligence is all we ask of you. Forget the cars, women and all other worldly pleasures and sacrifice for the Liberian people. Just this once!

We are tired! I want to hear today, "we will do our very best" not "we will try" Liberians are tired of being used as experiment. Give us your all, go at it do your very best. Our children will sing your names in there history classes (positively) Nobody is saying it would be easy no, but the very best is all we need. I wish the NTLA God's blessings and wisdom.
Bernice, Liberia

Liberians are good minded people. Once the right thing that will enable people to move about their businesses freely, the 14 years war will soon be an issue of history. The leadership must be strong and not listen to evil minded trouble makers who do not want to see Liberia move to her rightful place. Please expose those with negative agenda President Bryant.
Aloysius Borbor, USA

The UN is the only body that can ever provide our country this golden opportunity
Sie, Boston, USA
The new leadership can only be successful, if all those that would assume power, put aside that old Liberian saying: "Now it is our time". Mr Bryant may work for the good of his country men, but others may try to turn the wheels in another direction. The leadership can only be successful, if the ideal of 'checks and balances', and 'accountability, becomes the code word of the administration. The humanitarian crisis can only be resolved if all the arms are taken away from all those child soldiers and others that are still roaming the countryside of Liberia. Once the UN peacekeepers are in every county in Liberia, peace will truly prevail. Liberia needs a chance, and the UN is the only body that can ever provide our country this golden opportunity.
Sie, Boston, USA

Peace can be restored in Liberia, provided if people in positions are honest and willing to serve their country.
Dennis M. Kaine, Monrovia, Liberia

What Liberia needs most in a leader is a patriot who will put Liberia, the Liberian people and the constitution of the republic above all else. An engineer who will lay down the blueprints for a democratic, inclusive and prosperous Liberia for years to come. I am confident that in Gyude Bryant we have one such leader.
Albert K. Cooper, MD, USA

Throughout the recent history of Liberia, there has always been two parallel forces that have served as the greatest peril to democracy: the armed bandits/criminals and the corrupt bureaucrats in the offices. We hope this is not a continuation of business as usual.
Emmanuel Leon Sieh Wreh, Southern California, USA

Under the leadership of Mr. Bryant, I'm sure that he will bring peace to our land. As a Liberian and a businessman, he has suffered along with the people. He knows that we are a capable and strong people that were waiting for a chance to restore our great nation in the eyes of the world. Over the next few years, new ideas will help bring back an elected and strong government that will ensure that Liberia will be a nation for and by the people. Long live Liberia and it people that have proven to the world the will to survive anything.
Richard Butler Jr., Liberia

The leadership of Liberia leadership requires dedication, integrity, moderation and forgiveness
Augustus Kesselly, Liberia/USA
Of course the leadership can be successful but the heartbreaking humanitarian crisis will take many years to be resolved. Let's remember that this is a country with more than half of its citizen either internally displace (IDP) or refugees in other West Africa states. The leadership of Liberia leadership requires dedication, integrity, moderation and forgiveness all of which Mr. Bryant has shown sign of possessing whereas solving the humanitarian crisis will need the attention of both Liberians and their friends.
Augustus Kesselly, Liberia/USA

No one person or country can restore peace to Liberia. Thus tasking Mr. Bryant with that role is unfair and unrealistic. The key to peace in Liberia lies in the willingness of the warlord to see the futility of their war and to support the peace efforts. Once the warlords make this realization, Mr. Bryant's image and integrity would come in handy as a trust-building instrument.
Ebe Ochonu, USA

Can peace stay in Liberia? This is the question that needs to be asked. Will peace be in Liberia forever now? I say that as long as everyone stay interested, concerned, and willing to help each other, peace will stay. However, if after a few months, all of the big wheels become disinterested, war will fly through Liberia again and this time there will not be any thought of peace.
Delor Adams, USA

Liberia is presently at peace like Nigeria or some other African country. Peace is relative and Liberia Capital is in a peaceful state the rest which has to do with disarming the rebels will be done as soon as possible.
Armah Comehn, Senegal

Most likely, but this will depend largely on how well the international communities hold their commitments. Liberia and Liberians have been dragged to rage for the past 15 years. Liberia's infrastructure is completely broken, the current political system is corrupt and incompetent. The citizens and people of Liberia have to largely depend on real financial and technical assistance from the international community for the next 5 years to develop an infrastructure that is liveable by human beings. One way to speed the process is to encourage competent Liberians abroad to return to Liberia and work as non governmental employees.
Bill, Liberian living in the US

Let's get behind Gyude Bryant and start educating our children and build a new society
Joseph Supawood, Liberia
We can only hope and pray that Liberians choose peace in Liberia. That is the only way peace can happen here. It's one thing for the United States and Nigeria to intervene and the UN to assist but ultimately Liberia has to choose which way it wants to go. So for God's sake let's get behind Gyude Bryant and start educating our children and build a new society. Long Live Liberia.
Joseph Supawood, Liberia

I am not only optimistic that peace will restore to Liberia, but I am 101% sure that the transitional government will once more bring Liberia and Liberian out of the dark. Peace is definitely an assurance for Liberia, reason being, at this present point in time we do not have any warring factions that is opposing the transitional government, unlike the previous transitional assembly; the major player in the war opposed the deal.
Al-Jerome Wolo, USA/Liberia

Gyude Bryant can only help in bringing peace to Liberia if and only if he reconciled his mind, body and soul first. Why? This is because all of the Liberian ex-president been corrupt, therefore the possibility exist for Bryant to be corrupt too, especially when the world is now watching Liberia and good amount of money is going to Liberia for reconstruction and developments. Bryant will need total reconciliation from corruption. Then he will be a good leader.
Alvin T. Kpoto, United States

I presently reside in America. I am of the strong conviction that he will break the ice. Beyond that, I do believe that the many structural lessons that are learnt from the war, he will want to make name for himself and his generation and as well as to set an example for others to emulate. Because he is being watched by the international communities, he will do his best. God is in control.
Butler, Robert, Liberia

What I think should be addressed is that of the causes of the Liberian civil war and how we could prevent another circle of violence
Joe Hena, Liverpool, UK
The last interim leadership was successful, but we never had a lasting peace. What I think should be addressed is that of the causes of the Liberian civil war and how we could prevent another circle of violence. Until we as Liberians can adequately address our issues without fear of hurting other people feelings, I am not sure Mr. Bryant will be successful. Liberians need to be told why they have to suffer for almost 14 years by self proclaimed leaders. Yes we need peace, but this time not at all cause. There is a need for those responsible to come forth and tell us why they decided to liberate us when we never need one and when they did they failed to deliver. Until that is done, I want to believe that other liberators are waiting to come again.
Joe Hena, Liverpool, UK

Liberia is no longer a functioning country. It has none of the infrastructure that would classify it as a sovereign nation. It is one vast gang land turf. The only hope for what was once Liberia is to put that territory under UN mandate for the next 10-20 years. A small UN peacekeeping force will not be able to contain the violence and lawlessness. It requires much more, like Iraq.
Yaakov Sullivan, USA

On the question of the leadership been successful, I am of the conviction that indeed this leadership will turn out to be a unifying one and work towards the humanitarian worsened crisis in my country. My point of saying this is that looking at the head Gyude Bryant, he is a man who can not be linked to any warring party nor can he linked to any mischief in our county.
Igantius D. Kunmeh, Liberia

I think What many Liberians were hoping for is that, the United Nations take complete control of both security and governing in Liberia for at least some long period of time, before handing it over to all these so-call self interest power seeker.
Zowadoe Mehn, Liberia/Washington DC

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