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Powell, Annan Discuss Liberia

Secretary of State Colin Powell discussed the Liberian situation with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan again Wednesday as the Bush administration considered whether to send troops to the west African country to help restore order. Mr. Powell says no decision on U.S. action has yet been made.

The secretary's phone conversation with Mr. Annan, their third in the last two days, came amid news reports that a U.S. decision to dispatch troops to Liberia was imminent. But in remarks on the ABC Radio, Mr. Powell said President Bush is still considering all the options available to him, and that the United States is sounding out Liberia's neighbors on what they might be prepared to do to restore order there.

"We're looking now to see what ECOWAS, the West African group is ready to do, what forces they are prepared to put in. And the president is examining his options," he said. "But it's premature to say that he's made a decision and an announcement is forthcoming in the next day or so."

Mr. Powell said the administration is worried about deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Liberia, and he reiterated President Bush's call earlier in the day for Liberian President Charles Taylor to leave the country "right away."