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Bush, Obasanjo Discuss Peacekeeping Force for Liberia - 2003-07-12

President Bush met with Nigerian leader Olusegun Obasanjo Saturday to discuss U.S. support for a west African peacekeeping force for Liberia.

President Bush thanked the Nigerian leader for offering Liberian President Charles Taylor asylum here in Nigeria, once west African peacekeepers arrive in Liberia.

Mr. Bush repeated his call on the Liberian leader to leave power to prevent further bloodshed. He says the United States is supporting regional efforts to end the civil war. But he has still not decided whether U.S. troops will take part in the regional peacekeeping force.

U.S. military officials are meeting with west African leaders in Ghana this weekend to discuss what role U.S. troops might play in that force.

White House officials say Mr. Bush will weigh the outcome of those talks and a report from a humanitarian assessment team in Liberia, before making his decision on deploying troops.

Nigeria and Ghana are expected to make up the bulk of a regional peacekeeping force.

Following his talks with the Nigerian leader and a speech at a meeting of African and African-American business leaders, President Bush returns to the United States, ending a trip that also has taken him to Senegal, South Africa, Botswana and Uganda.