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UN warns Charles Taylor to leave Liberia immediately - 2003-08-08

The UN special representative for Liberia has sent a strong message to Liberian president Charles Taylor urging him to leave the country while he can. The envoy, Jacques Klein, made the comment in an interview with English to Africa reporter Francois Nsengiyumva. Asked whether the United Nations would take into consideration the rebel statement agreeing with the possibility of dropping charges against Charles Taylor if that would persuade him to leave the country, Mr. Klein said the UN had never considered dropping the charges. On the type of mission the United Nations is planning for Liberia, Mr. Klein said the Liberian peacekeeping force would be at least as large in scope as the UN force in Sierra Leone and would require a strong mandate, enabling it to deal with any situation. He said it would need a minimum of two years to put the country back on track and organize new elections.