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7/5/03 - PEACE IN AFRICA - 2003-07-07

In Africa, regional wars are encouraged by dictatorial regimes that give weapons and refuge to groups fighting in neighboring countries. As President George W. Bush said, “The cycle of attack and escalation is reckless, it is destructive, and it must be ended”:

“In Congo, nine countries took part in a five-year war that brought death to millions. President [Thabo] Mbeki of South Africa deserves credit for his efforts to broker a peace agreement.”

In Liberia, said Mr. Bush, the warring parties need to complete negotiations on an interim government that will not include Liberia’s current president, Charles Taylor:

“President Taylor needs to step down so that his country can be spared further bloodshed. All the parties in Liberia must pursue a comprehensive peace agreement. And the United States is working with regional governments to support those negotiations and to map out a secure transition to elections. We are determined to help the people of Liberia find the path to peace.”

The U.S. is also committed to helping to end the civil war in Sudan. Conflict there over a twenty-year period, said Mr. Bush, has claimed the lives of as many as two-million Sudanese:

“Progress over this past year, aided by the leadership of Kenya, has brought us to the edge of peace. Now the north and south must finalize a just and comprehensive peace agreement and the world must support it."

Efforts by African governments to build effective peacekeeping forces are key. As President Bush put it, “Skilled and well-equipped peacekeeping forces are essential, because in the long run, Africans will keep the peace in Africa.”