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UN Warns Charles Taylor:  Stay Out of Liberia's Affairs - 2003-10-09


The U.N. Security Council has accused exiled Liberian President Charles Taylor of continuing interference in the country's affairs. The Council issued a statement warning Mr. Taylor that his actions could threaten existing peace agreements.

The Security Council heard a report Thursday from Hedi Annabi, head of U.N. peacekeeping operations in Liberia. After the closed-door session, U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte, the current Council president, read a statement warning Mr. Taylor to stay out of the country's affairs.

"Members of the Security Council expressed concern that former President Charles Taylor is attempting to influence events in Liberia and noted that any interference from Mr. Taylor could threaten the carefully constructed peace agreement in Liberia," he said.

In comments afterward, Ambassador Negroponte suggested that Mr. Taylor's continued interference could jeopardize the conditions of his exile. "So we think it is very important that he observe the terms of his having left Liberia and that he respect the commitment that he undertook not to pursue political activities from outside the country," he said. "But we have reason to believe he is not respecting those conditions at the moment."

In a related development, the U.N. Humanitarian Affairs Office reported that an inter-agency mission visiting central regions of Liberia this week had found an increase in the number of displaced persons. The report indicated many people are fleeing continued fighting in the interior.

The United Nations took over command of peacekeeping operations in Liberia this month. The force currently numbers about 5,000, concentrated mostly in and around Monrovia. Plans are to quickly bolster the force to about 15,000, and to deploy troops throughout the country.

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