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Tuesday, 14 May, 2002, 20:09 GMT 21:09 UK
Liberia: Is it on the brink?
The LURD rebel group is creeping ever closer to the Liberian capital, Monrovia.

Key towns have been attacked, including President Charles Taylor's former headquarters of Gbarnga and his home town of Artington, just 25 kilometres from the capital city.

Thousands of people have been displaced by the fighting.

How would you advise President Taylor to deal with the rebel threat? Should he try to smash LURD militarily? Should he try to negotiate with them?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments. Have your say

The best thing Taylor can do now is to give up the ghost and let the Liberian people decide the future of the country. Taylor had the chance to lead but he miserably failed the Liberian people. He has run out of ideas about running a government and his failed policies have led to the suffering of the Liberian people.
Momolu V.O. Sirleaf, Minnesota, USA

Under the Taylor Presidency, Liberians abroad have seen the significant erosion of the dignity of their people in Liberia. This is why thousands of Liberians in the USA will be rallying on July 26th, in Washington, DC, to demand that Taylor and his regime step down. The only negotiation necessary right now is to negotiate Taylor's surrender and arrest. Taylor has undermined the credibility of international-backed negotiations to end conflicts. To restore this credibility Taylor should not be a part of any negotiation backed by the international community to end the trouble in Liberia. Taylor is the trouble, get him out, and the trouble will end.
Nimely-Sie Tuon, USA


I think the best thing would be for Liberia to be placed under a UN mandate

Akin, Japan
Considering that Taylor himself, as well as marauders such as Prince Johnson and Samuel Doe before him were responsible for the ruin of their country, I think the best thing would be for Liberia to be placed under a UN mandate, every last soldier and guerrilla disarmed, and governed by a responsible interim government until Liberia can sort out its differences peacefully. The problem is, of course, the overall lack of leadership.
Akin, Nigerian-Canadian, Japan

Charles Taylor, of all people, should know that he cannot smash LURD militarily. This is a guerrilla warfare, and there are no clear-cut frontlines. All the more reason why he should listen to the collective wisdom of the Liberian people who are asking him to dialogue with the rebels. There are many well meaning people, Liberians and friends of Liberia, who are willing to help him in this regard.
George Werner, USA

I'm neither a fan of Taylor nor his administration, but I hold the utmost degree of hatred for all those responsible for bring this horrific tragedy on the Liberian people. Liberia is not a trophy. Liberia belongs to Liberians and it not a prize for the strongest. There should be no negotiation with rebel forces. It is time for us Liberians to rise up and resist any attempt by any group to force itself in power by the barrel of the gun. The democratic process must be given a chance.
Mawolo, Liberian in the USA


Liberians it's time for Taylor to go

C.W. Jallah Sr., Liberian in the USA
How can Mr Taylor say he cares about the Liberian people when he and a few of his cronies are riding in luxury cars and half of the population does not have clean drinking water nor light. Liberians it's time for Taylor to go.
C.W. Jallah Sr., Liberian in the USA

There is universal agreement that Charles Taylor is the main problem for Liberia and that he should quit one way or another. The question is, where will he go after he resigns? I can't think of many people who would want him living next door as a neighbour lest the cancer of death and destruction he brought upon Liberia spreads.
Hadi Bah, Sierra Leone

I think it has been made quite clear by Taylor and his cronies in Monrovia that the only thing they are interested in is power and how to enrich themselves at the expense of the Liberian people. If you take a careful look at the present situation in Liberia, it is exactly a replay of the war that Taylor started in late 1989. And what happened during that war? Untold suffering and destruction of lives and properties.
Johnnie Gaye, USA


Mr Taylor has only brought shame and suffering to the people of Liberia

Trokon, Liberia
It is sad that Liberia is going through this. I was only a child when this war started and I still remember the suffering of my people. Mr Taylor has only brought shame and suffering to the people of Liberia. He is not a man for the people and he has no love for his country.
Trokon, Liberia

Any attempt to negotiate with Taylor will be a new lease on his regime. He already has a history of not abiding by any peace agreement. Liberians must now demand nothing less from Taylor than his resignation and possible trial along with his key officials and supporters.
Patrick, Liberian in the USA

I believe the Liberian government should negotiate with LURD, before this MESS gets worse then it already is. I am not a fan of Taylor's administration but I sure don't want another rebel incursion. The Liberian people have suffered so much and for too long.
B. Jassie Fletcher, Liberian/USA


Anything that would escalate the brewing crisis in Liberia would spell doom for the country and the sub-region as a whole

Abe, Liberia
Counter military action by Charles Taylor would not help matters. Negotiation and a little shifting of grounds by both parties would be the best for the country just smarting from years of horrendous civil war. Anything that would escalate the brewing crisis in Liberia would spell doom for the country and the sub-region as a whole. Caution must be exercised in order to save the lives of millions of Liberians who survived the war.
Eze Ekuma Ibe, Nigeria

I honestly think he should leave office. Let him hand over power to an interim administration instead of the rebels. There should be no negotiation between him and the rebels. Taylor is a failure and he has devastated this country. He brought more suffering to the people of Liberia than any of his predecessors. The Liberian people deserve better. I don't think the rebels will make any more difference than Charles Taylor.
Abe, Liberia

It is a shame that the UN is allowing an armed group to ravage our country and kill the innocent with impunity, while at the same time imposing a ban on weapons on the standing government. Shame on the hypocrisy of the UN and Kofi Annan.
Olu, Liberia

From the way I look at things and the way things are going, I think the best thing for President Taylor to do right now is resign. He should resign and go into exile.
Stephen Togba Jr, Liberian/U.S.A.


It is only through negotiations that the problem in Liberia will be resolved

H. Momo Fahnbulleh, USA
It is very unfortunate that we have come this far before dealing with the issue at hand. Indeed, there is hardly any meaningful progress in human endeavours without precedent. Taylor did not win the war to become president by military might. He won through intense diplomatic negotiations. It is just logical for all the factions currently fighting for power, including the LURD, to understand that it is only through negotiations that the problem in Liberia will be resolved. Regardless of who gains the upper hand in the current fighting, the civilian population is poised to resist any attempt by any group to assume leadership of Liberia through the barrel of the guns. Yes, let Mr. Taylor see reason now to negotiate for the common good of Liberia and its vulnerable children.
H. Momo Fahnbulleh, USA

Negotiations would be the right way to handle this situation and avoid further bloodshed. However, one has to be very careful with what and who you are negotiating with. Taylor has never proved to be an earnest person.
Max, Liberian

As a Liberian residing in the United States, it makes our lives very excruciating to hear daily about bad news of our beloved country...Liberia. We all have family members back home, and feel very attached to home. We want Taylor to resign and for there to be a transitional government to lead the country forward.
J J Jarway, USA

Taylor should negotiate now if he actually loves the Liberian people. This will save many, many lives.
Joe, Liberian in the USA

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12 May 02 | Africa
22 Feb 02 | Country profiles
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