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Bryant says he wants Taylor to stay in Nigeria

[Liberia] Liberian President Charles Taylor.
Liberian president Charles Taylor (AP)

Liberia's transitional leader, Gyude Bryant said on Monday that his government wanted former Liberian president Charles Taylor to remain in exile in Nigeria until it handed over to a new elected administration in October 2005.

"This transitional government will not request that Taylor be removed from Nigeria. His presence there is part of the peace process", Bryant told a news conference at the Executive Mansion in the capital Monrovia.

However, Bryant warned: "If Taylor's behaviour in Nigeria derails this peace process, it is a different matter".

He recalled that Nigeria had agreed to grant Taylor asylum because the disgraced leader's continued presence in Liberia was perceived as an obstacle to peace.

Taylor has been living in Calabar in southeastern Nigeria since 11 August last year, when rebel attacks on Monrovia and mounting international pressure forced him to step down and leave the country.

A week later Liberia's three warring factions signed a peace agreement that ended 14 years of near constant civil war.

Bryant, a former businessman, became Chairman of a broad-based transitional government charged with leading Liberia back to constitutional rule in October.

The Nigerian government has so far refused to turn the former Liberian president over for trial for war crimes by a UN-backed special court in Sierra Leone. Taylor is wanted there for his role in supporting a brutal rebel movement in Sierra Leone during the 1990s.

However, President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that he would be prepared to send Taylor back home for trial in Liberia, should the Liberian government press charges against him and demand his return.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

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