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Page last updated at 11:03 GMT, Tuesday, 7 July 2009 12:03 UK

Liberia's leader 'should resign'

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf at the AU summit in Libya, 02/07
The president was at an African Union summit when the report was released

Liberia's opposition has called on President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to step down after the truth commission said she should be barred from office.

"The presidency has been brought to public disrepute," said Acarious Gray, from former footballer George Weah's Congress for Democratic Change party.

However, Information Minister Laurence Brople said Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf was continuing to work as normal.

The commission said she should be barred over her ties to Charles Taylor.

Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf has always admitted that she had backed the former warlord's rebellion 20 years ago.

The House of Representatives is due to debate the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report on Tuesday.

The recommendations could become law if parliament, in which the opposition has a majority, decides to adopt them.

Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf defeated Mr Weah in a run-off in 2005 elections after the end of 14 years of conflict in Liberia.

'No slap in the face'

Mr Brople said the Liberian people had been aware that Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf had contributed money to Mr Taylor's campaign when they made her Africa's first elected female head of state.

"They decided to reconcile with her and they elected her president by popular vote," he told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

We did an honest job and we do believe that is the best for Liberia
Jerome Verdier
TRC chairman

"We don't see this as a slap in the face."

The president was at the African Union summit in Libya when the report was released last week.

President Johnson-Sirleaf's spokesman Cyrus Badio said the president was still reading the report but that "not every Tom, Dick and Harry, will call on the president to step down and we listen".

The TRC published its report after touring the country for three years, hearing the testimony of tens of thousands of people affected by the country's 14-year civil war.

Commission chairman Jerome Verdier told the BBC that he stood by the report, despite the controversy it has caused.

"We did an honest job and we do believe that is the best for Liberia," he said.

"Those recommendations, when implemented will bring healing and reconciliation."

When she appeared before the commission in February, Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf apologised to the commission for supporting Mr Taylor - who later became president himself, before fleeing the country.

She said she had been "fooled" into supporting him, adding: "I feel it in my conscience. I feel it every day."

Mr Taylor was eventually arrested on an international warrant and is currently on trial for war crimes in The Hague.



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