Global Policy Forum

Netherlands Wants Facts From Taylor


By Philip Moore

News (Monrovia)
August 30, 2000

A Dutch delegation of the United Nations Security Council is in Liberia on a fact-finding mission on allegations of President Charles Taylor's involvement in the Sierra Leone war.

"We've just spent four days in Sierra Leone and I explained to the President that the reason why we also wanted to come to Liberia is that we wanted to discuss the allegations of the involvement of President Taylor in the Sierra Leonean crisis, especially his close ties with the RUF."

Those were excerpts of an interview with the spokesman of the Dutch delegation to the United Nations Security Council, Ambassador Peter Van Walsum following an hour-long meeting with President Taylor.

In his press briefing yesterday, Ambassador Walsum said his delegation is not here to represent the UN Security Council, nor is it here to discuss bilateral relations between the Netherlands and Liberia.

On the question of what his delegation hopes to achieve from its visit to Liberia, he said "We want to hear his (President Taylor's) view on these allegations, but we also discussed a whole lot of other issues concerning the situation in Sierra Leone."

Whether his delegation was able to gather some facts from President Taylor regarding claims of gunrunning and diamond smuggling in Sierra Leone, Ambassador Walsum said President Taylor obviously denied the reports and allegations are untrue. "We did not come to an agreement on that," he added.

"He certainly did not deny links with the RUF, after all the origin of the RUF is something in which he . . . played an important role," Amb. Walsum claimed. He said his delegation and President Taylor disagreed on the level of influence he (President Taylor) has on the RUF.

Ambassador Walsum said their discussion with President Taylor was also centered on what extent President Taylor can persuade the RUF to do certain things. He did not elaborate.

He said his delegation has come to Liberia at the time the United Nations Security Council is discussing the extension of the mandate of the United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL). He disclosed that UNAMSIL's present mandate will expire on September 8.

He added that his country supports the extension of UNAMSIL's mandate. "No one is thinking of a purely military solution. But what we are looking for is how much military pressure is needed to obtain a political solution; and in that midst of military pressure and political solution, you can have different views of how this can be organized."

Also on the Netherlands delegation were, the Ambassador accredited to Liberia, Peter Van Leeuwen, Pauline Genee, Second Secretary of the Netherlands at the UN; Hans Smaling from the Netherlands' Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Erik de Feijter of the Embassy in Abidjan, the Ivory Coast.

More Information on Sierra Leone


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