Liberia: ECOWAS Ambassador Disappointed Protest Petition to President Weah Was Not Delivered
MONROVIA – The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has expressed disappointment over the Council of Patriots’ refusal to hand over their petition to officials of the Government of Liberia and members of the international community who struggled their way through a mammoth crowd outside the premises of the Capitol Building to receive it on Friday, June 7.
Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]
“It is disappointing to note that, with all the elaborate mediation efforts and arrangements made by the Government, Local and International Stakeholders, the petition that was to be delivered to the Government, could not take place,” the ECOWAS Commission in Liberia stated in a press statement on Saturday.
The Spokesman of the Council of Patriots, Abraham Darius Dillon, insisted that “We will not present our Petition to Appointed Officials. We expected the elected President or his Vice President as was designated by him”.
The government’s delegation that were present to receive the petition comprised Ministers of Justice, Foreign Affairs, Minister of State without Portfolio, the National Security Adviser and the Legal Adviser on Presidential Affairs to the Assembly Point. In addition, Edwin Snowe, member of the ECOWAS Parliament, and the Special Representative of the ECOWAS President in Liberia, were at hand to witness the handing-over of the petition.
ECOWAS noted that the Council of Patriots introduced an extraneous demand by informing that their petition would only be delivered upon the immediate release of the students and others that were detained by the Liberia National Police on Wednesday.
Prior to that sudden condition by the protestors, they had earlier insisted that the petition, upon delivery to the President, must be acknowledged by him and the acknowledgement should be brought back by the Government Delegation and handed over to them at the Capitol Hill. After consultation, the Government graciously accepted this demand and waited to receive the petition.
ECOWAS, however, said it wants the Liberian Government and Council of Patriots to continue to engage in constructive dialogue for sustaining peace and stability with a view to finding an amicable means of addressing genuine concerns in line with the Constitution and the Rule of Law.
Meanwhile, the regional body commended President George Weah as well as the organizers of the June 7 Protest for ensuring a non-violent peaceful assembly.
“In particular, ECOWAS would like to commend the Liberia’s Joint Security Services and, especially, the Liberia National Police (LNP) for the display of utmost professional conduct in protecting the civil liberties of the protesters as there was no ugly incident throughout the day,” the statement said.
ECOWAS also thanked United Nations Human Rights Monitors as well as the ECOWAS Observers for their diligent and impartial role in interacting with all the parties in their various areas of deployment as well as at the Assembly Point.