Secretary of State Colin Powell discussed the situation in Liberia and the Ivory Coast Tuesday with a delegation of foreign ministers from the West African economic grouping ECOWAS. Mr. Powell reaffirmed the U.S. determination to see former Liberian President Charles Taylor face war crimes charges in Sierra Leone.
The secretary of state met separately with Nigerian Foreign Minister Oluyemi Adeniji and then with a broader group of ministers from Ghana, Senegal, Guinea and Ivory Coast in a session that focused on reinforcing international peace efforts in Ivory Coast and Liberia.
Officials said the discussion included the status of Mr. Taylor, who has been in exile and under effective house arrest in Nigeria since August. In a talk with reporters, Mr. Powell said the United States wants Mr. Taylor to face charges pending against him from the U.N. backed war crimes court in Sierra Leone. "We continue to believe that Mr. Taylor ultimately must face justice of the kind that is awaiting him before the special tribunal," he said.
A State Department spokesman said Mr. Powell and his colleagues discussed ideas for stabilizing the situation in Ivory Coast where the country remains divided between the government-controlled south and rebel-held north despite a French brokered agreement to end the civil conflict there signed last January.