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Akosombo Peace Agreement

Concerned about the negative effects of the war on subregional security, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the subregional organization, intervened in the conflict and, inter alia, adopted a peacemaking approach involving various peace agreements. However, the first sixteen peace agreements did not bring the war to an end. Finally, the Abuja II peace agreement put an end to the carnage. What factors were responsible for these results? The first sixteen peace agreements were deficient in one or more of the elements that need to be addressed for the peace agreement to be successfully implemented, from the spoiler phenomenon to the lack of implementation. On the other hand, the success of the Abuja II peace agreement was part of the fact that the necessary measures were taken to ensure the effective operationalization of the elements necessary for success. For example, the incessant role of the Taylor-led NPFL as a “joy-flap” has been caused by the unwillingness of Burkina Faso and Côte d`Ivoire, the two main supporters of the Warlordist militia, to continue to bind themselves to the peace process by the warring faction. In addition, ECOWAS has developed the political will to enforce the agreement, including the threat to establish a war crimes tribunal. Another factor was that the seemingly endless cycle of war and peacemaking allowed the NPFL to use the peace agreements as an opportunity to “buy time” at a time when warrurist militias were under military pressure, either through the peace enforcement measures of ECOMOG, the peacekeeping force and/or other warring factions. Under these conditions, Taylor used the signing of various peace agreements as an instrument to end military pressure to secure new arms deliveries and rethink the NPFL`s “military strategy.” Then, once these goals were achieved and the NPFL was militarily strengthened, Taylor would break the peace accords and return to war. Unfortunately, ECOWAS and the rest of the international community were vulnerable to these manipulative tactics by the NPFL, which translates into their willingness to continue negotiating new peace agreements whenever the NPFL violated the previous one. The use of appetite, which can serve as an effective “carrot” to induce a recalcitrant faction to abide by a peace agreement. In this case, the act of appeasement must be calibrated in a specific and appropriate way. On the other hand, the use of appeasement can be counterproductive if it is used repeatedly and does not take into account the peculiarities of a case.

An important negative outcome could be the contribution to the “commitment deficit” of the parties to the conflict. Such a result is made possible by the conviction of the various parties that the “peacemaker” does not cease to respond to their repeated requests (Stedman 1997). On 21 December 1994, the leaders of the NPFL, ULIMO and the remnants of the Liberian Armed Forces met in Accra, Ghana. The President of Ghana, Mr. Rawlings, chaired the meeting in his capacity as President of ECOWAS. At the end of the meeting, the “new” peace agreement focused on three main themes: due to the escalation of the Liberian civil war and in the absence of a meaningful international response, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) established a Standing Mediation Committee (SMC) in May 1990 to seek ways to end the violence. Two months later, attempts by the Liberian Interfaith Conciliation Committee (IFMC) to mediate between the warring factions began to take off. In August, the MSC adopted the IFMC proposals as an ECOWAS peace plan and played a leading role in peace efforts. Although it failed to reach a ceasefire, it quickly set up and deployed a military peacekeeping force, the Ceasefire Monitoring Group (ECOMOG).

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