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Liberian Interim Leader Apologizes To Sierra Leone - 2003-11-07

In Sierra Leone the Liberian Interim Leader has been visiting the country. He says Liberians are now committed to peace. The interim president also says reports of Guinea supplying weapons to fighters in Liberia is false.

Speaking at State House, the Liberian interim Head of State Gyude Bryant says Liberians are now finished with war and want peace.

"The wrangling is over; the struggle and fight for diamonds and gold and the rest of it is over and we are now committed to ensuring that our people now live better lives and live those lives in peace."

The Liberian leader apologized for all the wrongs his fellow countrymen committed during the war years.

He says, "I want to sincerely apologize to the people of Sierra Leone for all the harm and hurt that Liberia and Liberians have brought to them, not all of us endorsed these things; these are not the values of the Liberian people. It’s nowhere in our culture where these things sprung up from over the past years I don’t know. We deeply regret the hurt. We beg you to forgive us. We beg you to put away the bitterness and let’s be brothers and sisters again at peace with one another and lets move our country forward."

Questioned about recent allegations by Human Rights Watch that Guinea has been supplying weapons to fighters in Liberia, the Interim Head of State says it is not true.

“You know these allegations will continue to crop up. I visited with President Lantanas Conte last week, and I’m not convinced that Guinea gave any weapons to anybody to come into Liberia last week or last month. Yes we know that in the crisis there were arms trading across borders and weapons may have come into Liberia from Guinea and from many other places but I’m not convinced that this is the case today.”

This is the new Liberian leader’s first visit to Sierra Leone. Along with his Sierra Leonean counterpart President Kabbah the leaders called on donor nations to honor their pledges to help their countries rebuild.