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Liberian Government Pledges to Ensure Safety of US Military Team - 2003-07-09

A U.S. military assessment team is continuing its mission in Liberia after being given assurances from the Liberian government its safety will be ensured.

During a meeting with Liberian officials late Tuesday in Monrovia, the team of U.S. Marines was given permission to go wherever it wants.

Prior to that meeting, Liberian President Charles Taylor said the U.S. team had committed a diplomatic mistake by not consulting with his government before starting its work.

Hundreds of Liberians have been accompanying the U.S. team everywhere it goes, chanting for more U.S. troops to arrive and Mr. Taylor to go.

But at one point in Monrovia Tuesday, police started firing warning shots when the U.S. convoy passed, prompting civilians to run for cover.

Also Tuesday, Liberian soldiers fired warning shots when the U.S. convoy approached a refugee camp outside Monrovia, forcing them to turn back.

Mr. Taylor has said he will leave power as agreed to in a cease-fire deal with rebels, but that first more U.S. forces should be deployed to avoid chaos.