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Liberia's Taylor Prepares Farewell Address Before Monday Resignation - 2003-08-10


Embattled Liberian President Charles Taylor has prepared a farewell address, one day before he is scheduled to leave office because of international pressure.

In his speech, Mr. Taylor, who recorded his remarks for a late Sunday broadcast, said he is being forced to relinquish power. The comment is an apparent reference to U.S. President George Bush, who has said that the Liberian leader's resignation is necessary to end Liberia's devastating four-year civil war.

Mr. Taylor's government is also under pressure from rebels who control most of the country and have laid siege to Monrovia, the capital, for the past two months.

The Liberian president is under an international indictment for his alleged involvement in Sierra Leone's civil war.

Mr. Taylor is expected to hand over power to Vice-President Moses Blah on Monday. But it is not yet clear whether he will leave his war-torn country, despite an offer of asylum from Nigeria.

The rebels have demanded that Mr. Taylor leave the country. But they have not said when they will honor their promise to relinquish control of their strongholds once he is gone.

A new U.N. report says Liberia's civil wars have claimed about 250,000 lives since 1989 and displaced about half of the country's population of three million.

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