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Nigeria Shows Support to Liberia for Crucial Post-War Election

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has said he will work with Liberia to make sure its post-war election next week will be a success.

Mr. Obasanjo said this is a critical time and that he wants to show Liberians he will do everything he can to ensure the October 11 vote brings peace to the war-torn West African nation.

He says there cannot be security and development in the region if one country is suffering.

During his one day visit Friday, Mr. Obasanjo met with government officials and presidential candidates. The frontrunner, former soccer star, George Weah, was not present as he drove back from campaign stops in southeastern Liberia in a 100 car convoy.

But Liberia's outgoing transitional leader Gyude Bryant thanked Nigeria for all its help since civil war first broke out in the late 1980s.

"We do not recall any single event that has happened when Nigeria has not stood up for us and most recently in the past decade Nigeria has done more for Liberia than any single member state of the global world," said Mr. Bryant.

Nigeria has consistently sent peacekeeping troops to Liberia, while also playing a key role in diplomatic efforts to end violence.

The two leaders did not take any questions from media. Human rights groups have been much more critical of Nigeria, pressing Mr. Obasanjo to turn over ousted former Liberian President Charles Taylor to the special war crimes court in Sierra Leone.

Mr. Taylor has been living in exile in Nigeria since he fled Liberia in 2003, effectively allowing the end to civil war. Mr. Obasanjo says granting him asylum, ended bloodshed, and that it will be Liberia's next elected government that should decide what to do with Mr. Taylor.

After winning elections in 1997 on threats that if he did not win, Liberia would face total destruction, Mr. Taylor was accused of backing rebels in Sierra Leone. He has denied the accusations.

Human rights groups have also accused him of continuing to meddle in Liberia's affairs. But the topic of what to do with Mr. Taylor has been largely absent from this campaign, which has instead focused on ending corruption, and bringing electricity and running water to impoverished Liberia.

More than 15,000 United Nations troops have ensured security during what has been a mostly peaceful electoral campaign.