Liberia unlikely to send troops to troubled Cote d'Ivoire

Monrovia- Liberia (PANA) -- Liberia may not send troops to neighbouring Cote d'Ivoire as part of an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) peacekeeping mission, President Charles Taylor said Friday.
"I don't think we will send troops.
Our hands are full," Taylor told journalists at the State House in Monrovia.
ECOWAS is said to be considering sending troops to Cote d'Ivoire where mutinous soldiers have been holding key Ivorian towns following the 19 September uprising.
Taylor said judging from the Liberian experience, it would require a "substantial number" of troops to handle the situation in Cote d'Ivoire.
According to him, Liberia is following developments in that country and supports the peace initiative by ECOWAS, including the call for a cease-fire.
Taylor said the Liberian border with Cote d'Ivoire remains open and that government has not deployed troops there because there was no need to do so.
He, however, said there were "trickles" of refugees coming into Liberia, adding that government would "allow all refugees, once they come without weapons.
" On whether Liberia had a hand in the Ivorian crisis, Taylor denied any link with the uprising, saying any Liberians involved could be mercenaries.
"There are three kinds of Liberians in Cote d'Ivoire - the visiting Liberians, the refugees and the mercenaries.
If they catch the mercenaries and don't know what to do with them, let them just send them to Liberia," Taylor said.

18 october 2002 19:11:00

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