Mbeki has no plans to meet Taylor’s lawyer

2010-09-17 14:43

Former president Thabo Mbeki has no plans to meet former Liberian president Charles Taylor’s lawyer Courtney Griffiths, Mbeki’s office said today.

“There is no meeting between former president Mbeki and Mr Griffiths,” it said in a statement.

“The office of former president Thabo Mbeki has noted ongoing press reports regarding Mr Courtenay Griffiths’ visit to South Africa.”

Griffiths, who apparently served as legal representative to Taylor, had publicly stated his wish to meet with Mbeki to discuss matters related to Taylor’s trial in The Hague.

For the record, Griffiths had not made any contact with Mbeki, either formally or informally. No meeting had therefore taken place between Mbeki and Griffiths, nor was there any planned.

“It surprises us that Mr Griffiths seems to believe that the best way to arrange a meeting between himself and Mr Mbeki is through the media,” the statement read.

It was reported earlier today that Griffiths wanted Mbeki to give evidence at Taylor’s war-crimes trial.

Griffiths, Taylor’s chief counsel at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in the Netherlands, told The Associated Press during a visit to Johannesburg yesterday that he wanted to interview Mbeki and weapons makers in South Africa.

He said he sought details on Taylor’s 2003 resignation and details on arms deals Taylor might have made.

“It is suggested by the prosecution that Mr Taylor did not step down voluntarily as president of Liberia – he was forced out of office by, among others, Thabo Mbeki,” Griffiths said.

Griffiths said he had asked Mbeki for a meeting.

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