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NCC-USA Urges President Bush to Send Peacekeeping Forces to Liberia

Statement July 11, 2003

The National Council of Churches USA laments the current situation in Liberia. The loss of life and the destruction of property due to civil strife have devastated the country. The humanitarian crisis is severe. In order for the people of Liberia to rise from the ashes of this conflict, the international community must step in to help stabilize the country.

The NCC is encouraged by the priority placed by President George Bush on the African continent. For too long, the United States has neglected Africa and the problems that have plagued it. For this reason, the NCC is appreciative of the President’s attentiveness to problems such as HIV/AIDS, poverty and war. We are particularly mindful of his concern for the victims of the hostilities that have ravaged Liberia. Therefore, we urge the President to commit peacekeeping troops, as part of an international stabilization force, together with political leadership and financial resources, to help resolve the conflict.

While the NCC remains steadfast in its stand against war, and indeed argues for nonviolence as a means of resolving conflicts, it nevertheless sees peacekeeping as a legitimate use of military power. Especially when conducted in partnership with other nations, such military operations demonstrate the willingness - and ability - of the United States to use its might for the common good of all.

The NCC also urges Liberian President Charles Taylor to step down. At the same time, we encourage the people of Liberia, including its religious leaders, to continue to take part in constructive actions that will lead to peace.

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