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National Archives

Public Papers - 1991 - January

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on United States Assistance for Liberia and Other Refugee Relief Efforts


The President has taken two important steps which underline our concern for the beleaguered people of Liberia and our desire that there should be a peaceful settlement to the problems of that country.

On January 2, the President approved release of .0 million from the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund (ERMA) to meet urgent humanitarian needs of Liberian refugees. This is in addition to earlier U.S. contributions of million for humanitarian assistance programs for Liberian conflict victims. Of this amount, .9 [million] was in food assistance and .1 million was in cash contributions and relief supplies to international and private voluntary organizations for their relief efforts in the region.

On January 7, the President approved a Department of State request to provide the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) with .8 million in economic support funds for its peacekeeping and humanitarian relief activities in Liberia. This assistance will be limited to nonlethal support for ECOWAS peacekeeping operations and for related humanitarian relief activities in Liberia.

Our contribution to ECOWAS reflects United States support for ECOWAS objectives in Liberia -- a ceasefire, the formation of an interim administration, and the holding of free and democratic elections. These objectives offer the best formula for a peaceful solution to the conflict. The ECOWAS intervention in Liberia represents an encouraging example of African states finding African solutions to African problems. We call on the international donor community to continue its support for humanitarian relief assistance in Liberia and to demonstrate its solidarity with ECOWAS efforts to bring peace to Liberia.

The President also approved use of Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund money as follows: .0 million for refugee and migration needs in response to the Persian Gulf crisis; .5 million to meet the emergency needs of Sudanese refugees; and 0,000 for emergency assistance programs in Central Africa for new Chadian and Rwandan refugees and those uprooted by the current conflict in Rwanda.

Note: Presidential Determination No. 91 - 12 of January 2 was printed in the ``Federal Register'' of January 16. Presidential Determination No. 91 - 14 of January 7 was printed in the ``Federal Register'' of January 28.

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