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White House Encouraged by Initial Peacekeeper Deployment in Liberia - 2003-08-04


The White House says it is encouraged by the initial deployment of West African peacekeepers in Liberia. The Bush administration says it continues to support the peacekeeping efforts of the Economic Community of West African states.

The Nigerian troops form the first contingent of a regional peacekeeping force that will try to enforce a cease-fire in war-torn Liberia and facilitate the delivery of much needed aid.

White House Spokesman Scott McClellan welcomed the initial deployment and called it encouraging. He said the United States continues to be actively involved in the planning and execution of the peacekeeping mission.

Word of the deployment reached President G. W. Bush while he was vacationing at his Texas ranch. Speaking to reporters in the town of Crawford, Mr. McClellan once again called on Liberian President Charles Taylor to step down.

President Taylor pledged Saturday that he would cede power on August 11, meeting one demand issued by regional leaders and the United States. He has been vague about when and if he will leave Liberia, though he has accepted an offer of asylum from the Nigerian government.