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Bush To Taylor: Step Down - 2003-06-26


President Bush wants Liberian President Charles Taylor to step down to prevent further bloodshed in the country as rebels and government troops battle outside the capital.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer says President Bush will use a speech on Africa to call for Liberian President Charles Taylor to give up power.

Mr. Bush will back a ceasefire signed earlier this month in Ghana and will call for President Taylor to comply with its demands that he step down so the country can be spared further bloodshed.

These will be Mr. Bush's first public comments on Liberia since fighting intensified in the country founded by freed American slaves. While supporting a ceasefire, the president is not expected to respond to a British proposal that the United States lead an international peacekeeping force for Liberia.

After initially appearing to accept the ceasefire and its call for his resignation, President Taylor has since said he will stay in office.

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