Letter: Sierra Leone peace

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Those who hoped that the reinstatement of the elected president would end Sierra Leone's cycle of violence have been confounded ("UK sends aid to Sierra Leone", 6 January). We must accept that the Niger-ians who restored President Kabbah to power are now seen as an occupying force by many Sierra Leoneans.

Rather than sending further aid to the Nigerian-led Ecomog forces Mr Blair should seize the opportunity of his visit to ask South Africa to provide a warship off Sierra Leone as a neutral venue for a peace conference to which all parties are invited. Freeing the rebel leader Foday Sankoh for talks surely offers the Nigerians their best chance of being spared a similar debacle to that which befell the Americans in Somalia, while still allowing an African-led solution to a very African conflict.

JOHN E TRICKS

Crediton, Devon

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