The main rebel group in Liberia has declared an immediate cease-fire after days of intense fighting in the capital, Monrovia. International aid agencies say at least 300 civilians have been killed, a thousand wounded, and thousands more displaced. President Bush joined other world leaders yesterday in demanding that Liberian President Charles Taylor, who's been indicted for war crimes by an international tribunal, cede power. Liberia’s information minister, Reginald Goodridge, spoke with reporter Josephine Kamara from Monrovia about President Bush’s statement that Mr. Taylor should step down.
Mr. Goodridge says the government of Liberia understands President Bush’s statement. He says it is consistent with President Taylor’s desire not to be part of any transitional arrangement in order to save the people of Liberia what he describes as “further anguish.”
Mr. Goodridge also said President Bush’s desire for peace in Liberia is encouraging to the government of Liberia. Mr. Goodridge denies that rebel forces are in central Monrovia. He says the battle for Monrovia continues between forces loyal to the government and the rebel -- Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy.