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US Sends Small Number of Troops to Liberia - 2003-08-06

President Bush says he has sent a small number of U.S. troops to Liberia to help prepare for the distribution of relief aid.

President Bush says the small contingent of U.S. troops is meant to help West African peacekeepers establish conditions necessary for the arrival of humanitarian supplies.

Speaking to reporters near his Texas ranch, Mr. Bush said he will not send a larger U.S. force to Liberia until President Charles Taylor steps down.

Mr. Bush met at his ranch with Secretary of State Colin Powell who said the Bush administration still expects President Taylor to leave Liberia, likely for asylum in Nigeria. Mr. Powell says West African peacekeepers are "starting to establish a sense of security" and are "putting hope back in the hearts of the Liberian people."

President Bush has repeatedly made clear that any U.S. involvement in Liberia will be limited in scope and duration. Several hundred U.S. troops are eventually expected to take up positions supporting the distribution of relief supplies in Liberia, a nation that was founded by freed American slaves.