Skip to comments.Sharpton wants African Americans to demand that Bush sends peacekeepers to Liberia.
Posted on 07/21/2003 12:41:58 PM PDT by Trueblackman
Sharpton: African Americans should help decide whether United States sends peacekeepers to Liberia
By EDWARD HARRIS The Associated Press 7/20/03 4:21 PM
ACCRA, Ghana (AP) -- Black Americans should help U.S. officials decide whether or not to send peacekeeping troops to Liberia, Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton said Sunday in Ghana -- where negotiators are working on a peace plan despite fresh fighting in the war-torn West African nation founded by freed American slaves.
U.S. President George W. Bush is considering whether to send troops to bolster a promised West African force that Liberians hope will end more than a decade of fighting in the country.
"The African American community can have a lot of impact on what position will come from the U.S. government based on where we want to go and recommend," said Sharpton, a civil rights leader who plans to run in the 2004 U.S. presidential elections.
Sharpton is leading a delegation of prominent black Americans, including Princeton African-American studies scholar Cornel West, to Ghana's capital, where Liberian peace talks are being held.
The group hopes to travel to Liberia to meet with embattled President Charles Taylor although the fighting has become increasingly fierce in recent days with a rebel push into the capital.
"The carnage must stop," Sharpton said.
Sharpton told The Associated Press after meeting with rebel and government delegates he had yet to decide whether he thought the United States should commit troops to the country.
"America should do whatever it can in conjunction with African leaders. What that should be, we'll make that determination after the talks," with other delegates and possibly Taylor, Sharpton said.
Bush has made Taylor's departure a precondition for sending troops. Taylor, a former warlord and indicted war criminal has accepted a Nigerian offer of sanctuary but said he would only leave when what he described as a "sufficient" number of peacekeepers were on the ground.
The west African regional bloc meditating peace efforts in Ghana has promised to send 1,500 peacekeeping troops in the coming weeks to monitor a June 17 cease-fire agreement between forces loyal to Taylor and rebels seeking his ouster.
The United States -- under international pressure to send forces to Liberia -- has indicated it won't make a decision until west African troops are on the ground and the situation can be better assessed.
Monrovia has become overrun with thousands of refugees who have fled three recent attacks on the city. Aid workers are warning of a humanitarian disaster as food stores dwindle and disease festers amid heavy fighting in parts of the city.
Sharpton said his delegation's mission is humanitarian in nature, but he would try and help ease along the peace negotiations that began on June 4 -- the day a U.N.-backed court in nearby Sierra Leone indicted Taylor on war crimes for his role in supporting a rebel group's terror campaign in that country.
Sharpton said he wouldn't choose sides in the conflict, which has raged since insurgents took up arms against Taylor in 1999, adding "wherever we can help the peace process, we will."
"The side that doesn't want to see the continual murders and pain and starvation in Liberia is the side that will ultimately win the trust of the people," Sharpton said.
Taylor, a former warlord elected president in 1997, launched Liberia's unrest in 1989 with his own insurgency.
Sharpton was also accompanied by the Rev. Al Sampson of Chicago; attorney Lewis Meyers; and Akbar Muhammad, Islam expert and Africana studies professor at New York's Binghamton University.
If you want on (or off) of my black conservative ping list, please let me know via FREEPmail. (And no, you don't have to be black to be on the list!)
Extra warning: this is a high-volume ping list.
If Al thinks it's such a great idea, then why isn't HE going over to Liberia to help out?
Lead by example and all of that!
Of course, Rev. Sharpton might be one of those people who doesn't want to risk catching a bullet himself, but is all gung-ho for OTHER people to stick their necks out!
Sharpton said he wouldn't choose sides in the conflict
Then who the heck does he want us to stop? No, no, don't pick sides, then you might have to take a STAND for something and not be able to flip flop so easy.
There you go, let Sharpton be president of Liberia.