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UN, ECOWAS urge Liberian political actors to eschew violence during polls

By Xinhua

MONROVIA, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) — The United Nations and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Thursday urged Liberia’s political actors to eschew all forms of violence during the forthcoming polls in the West African country. In a joint statement, the United Nations and ECOWAS said they are closely monitoring the election process and preparations for the presidential and legislative elections scheduled for Oct. 10. According to the statement, the head of the ECOWAS election observer mission to Liberia Attahiru Jega, and Leonardo Santos Simão, the special representative of the UN secretary-general and head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel, undertook a joint mission from Tuesday to Wednesday to assess Liberian stakeholders’ political perspectives and to convey messages of peace and inclusivity in the context of the electoral process. The statement said the joint mission consulted with political stakeholders and national institutions, and interacted with members of the diplomatic corps and the UN country team. The mission acknowledged the progress in the preparations toward the elections and underscored the need for peaceful, credible, transparent, and inclusive polls in an atmosphere of tolerance that promotes unity in Liberia, it said. “In particular, the mission urged political actors to refrain from incendiary rhetoric that incites violence and encouraged all actors to exercise restraint, and assiduously safeguard the hard-won peace and maintain national cohesion in the country,” the statement said. The delegation stressed that political leaders have the responsibility to adhere to democratic values and the rule of law, urging political leaders to send clear messages to their supporters and the public that they stand for peace and reject violence, the statement said. The delegation strongly condemned acts of electoral violence, particularly the violence, loss of lives, and the destruction of properties in Liberia’s Lofa County on Sept. 29, calling for swift investigation and accountability of the perpetrators. Reiterating that violence has “no place in democratic processes,” the delegation urged political parties and candidates to uphold their commitment to peaceful elections and seek judicial resolution of disputes. Enditem

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