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Liberian President Accuses US of Sponsoring Rebels Trying to Oust Him - 2003-03-27

Liberian President Charles Taylor is accusing the United States of providing indirect support for Guinean-based rebels who are trying to oust him.

The Liberian leader spoke during a visit to a refugee camp outside the capital, Monrovia, where loyalist troops battled with rebels earlier this week.

Mr. Taylor's accusation against the United States was made in a roundabout way. The Liberian leader said the U.S. government had funded the training of Guinean soldiers, who he claims are helping rebels of the group Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy.

The United States, which provides military aid to Guinea, has dismissed having links to the Liberian rebels.

The statement by the Liberian leader is the latest in a series of anti-U.S. remarks that have prompted American diplomats in Liberia to be on heightened alert.

U.S. government officials on Wednesday extended a travel warning urging Americans in Liberia to exercise caution amid the spreading rebel war in the country. The State Department said inflammatory statements by senior Liberian government officials about the United States could incite violence against American interests.

Mr. Taylor has often expressed anger over U.S. calls for him to improve what international agencies have said is a poor human rights record.

The Taylor government has been facing fierce attacks on a number of fronts during the past few days. Some of the fighting this week has been reported as close as 10 kilometers from the capital.