Liberian President Charles Taylor says he will step down -- but only after the deployment of an international peacekeeping force to the war-torn West African nation.

Mr. Taylor told a meeting of religious leaders Friday in the capital, Monrovia, that he did not understand why the United States government was insisting he give up power before U-S troops arrive to help stabilize Liberia.

The development comes one day after President Bush repeatedly -- and publicly -- called on the embattled, former rebel leader to give up power. The Bush administration is weighing possible U-S intervention in Liberia --including sending U-S troops.

A decision is expected to be announced before Mr. Bush begins his five-nation tour of Africa on Monday.