TOPICS > World

Nigerian Peacekeepers Enter Liberian Capital

BY Admin  August 7, 2003 at 1:00 PM EDT

However Taylor did submit a letter to the legislature saying he would hand power over to his vice president.

In the letter, Taylor said he would relinquish power to the Moses Blah, the country’s vice president. Lawmakers approved the decision, paving the way for Taylor to step down Monday, as promised.

“We are on course on the president relinquishing power,” Taylor spokesman Vaanii Passawe told The Associated Press.

Taylor also said he and his government were the victims of an “international conspiracy” aimed at undermining his leadership. He said this conspiracy had unjustly accused him of involvement in regional fighting, including his indictment for war crimes in neighboring Sierra Leone, and had imposed unfair trade embargoes on the West African nation.

“This orchestration has prevented me from carrying out my constitutional responsibilities of defending the country and providing essential social services for the people,” he said in the letter, which was read to reporters. “Therefore I as president of this noble republic can no longer preside over the suffering and humiliation of the Liberian public.”

Meanwhile, more than 100 Nigerian soldiers aboard white armored personnel carriers and trucks drove into the central district today waving white flags as they passed the residents, Reuters reported.

“We want peace, no more war,” the crowd cheered as they stormed the road to greet the soldiers.

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) expects to deploy about 3,250 soldiers in Liberia in an effort to stabilize the country after 14 years of continued conflict.

Though President Bush says he has not yet decided what role U.S. troops will play, three warships with 2,300 Marines have been sent to the Liberian coast and seven Marines landed in the country on Wednesday.

The Nigerian officer leading the force, Brigadier-General Festus Okonkwo, has met with rebel commanders.

While violence has reportedly subsided in Monrovia, fighting continues in the city of Buchanan, southeast of Monrovia.

Though rebels have said they will not leave Monrovia until Taylor leaves, they say they will hand over the port to peacekeepers so peacekeepers can supply desperately needed humanitarian aid.