Malian President in Nigeria for Talks on Liberia-Guinea

Published March 25th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

Malian President Alpha Konare arrived in Nigeria on Sunday for talks with President Olusegun Obasanjo on the simmering border conflict between Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, the presidency said here. 

Konare, who is also the chairman of regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), was greeted by top Nigerian officials at the airport, presidency officials told AFP. 

The Malian leader was due to go into the talks immediately with Obasanjo at the state house in Abuja, they said. 

Liberia's President Charles Taylor was due in Nigeria last week but failed to appear after throwing out the ambassadors of Sierra Leone and Guinea on Monday. 

The visit to Nigeria had been sought by the Nigerian president, who has been attempting to press for a summit to end a six-month-old border war that has claimed more than 1,000 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of people since September last year. 

Obasanjo visited Guinea on Monday for talks aimed at organising the summit to discuss the crisis in the region. 

Meanwhile, the 15-member ECOWAS, of which Nigeria is the largest member, said last week it was working to organise a summit. 

"President Taylor has expressed his readiness to meet the Guinean president," ECOWAS spokeswoman Adrienne Diop told AFP. 

ECOWAS Executive Secretary Lansana Kouyate last week met Guinean and Liberian presidents over the conflict. 

War has been raging in the border region between Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia for more than six months. 

The Conakry government in part blames the rebellion on Guinean army deserters but says most blame lies with Taylor, whom it accuses of backing rebels of Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in a cross-border insurgency. 

Liberia denies the claims and accuses Guinea of providing refuge to remnants of the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO) rebel movement in Liberia which opposes Taylor. 

Sierra Leone meanwhile accuses Liberia of supporting the RUF – ABUJA (AFP) 

 

© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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