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US Troops to be Out of Liberia by Oct. 1, says Bush - 2003-08-18


President Bush says U.S. troops will be out of Liberia by October 1. Mr. Bush says they will move out as U.N. peacekeepers move in.

The president says the United States has a special obligation to help Liberia, which was founded by freed American slaves. But he says the U.S. troop involvement will be limited in scope and duration.

In an interview with U.S. Armed Forces Radio, Mr. Bush stressed the primary mission of American forces in Liberia is to help get humanitarian aid to those in need.

He said those now deployed in Liberia will be out by October 1, adding U.N. peacekeepers will be ready to move in by that time.

The Economic Community of West African States is currently running the peacekeeping operation in Liberia, with Nigerian forces taking the lead. Americans are playing a support role, with 200 U.S. troops sent in last week to help secure the port of Monrovia.