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Last Updated: Monday, 7 July, 2003, 19:43 GMT 20:43 UK
Analysis: Taylor's asylum deal
President Charles Taylor seems to have been offered a safe haven in exchange for leaving Liberia, as has been demanded by the USA and others within the country.

President Charles Taylor
Mr Taylor does not have a clear timeline to leave Liberia

But this deal does not have a timeline to it, although Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that any transitional government in the post-Taylor era should be implemented quickly.

Mr Taylor said he understood that President Bush had asked him to move quickly and he was prepared to do this.

But opposition politicians and the rebels will almost certainly see a problem with this deal - Charles Taylor trying to hang onto power.

Final battle

It might be the case that Mr Taylor will change his spots completely, start to run the country in an accountable and efficient way, and stand for election again.

But that's most unlikely, and so the war would continue.

The rebels would attack Monrovia, and there could potentially be a final battle for the city, which would be a complete disaster, according to aid workers.

The BBC's World Affairs correspondent Mark Doyle, says that Monrovia already resembles a refugee camp, with 130,000 people living there in displaced persons camps and churches.

That does not include those staying with friends who are not counted by the aid agencies.

Refugees in Monrovia
Thousands of Liberians are displaced in schools and churches

There is no civil provision for them, rubbish is piling up in the streets, there is no easy access to water and virtually no electricity.

Try and imagine that kind of urban setting in a country that is experiencing war.

Liberians are very sceptical about this deal.

Almost all of the people Mark Doyle spoke to, except government officials, thought it would be good for Mr Taylor to go, and have an accountable democracy like everyone else in the world.

But they are scared because of their experiences during this long civil war, and they say they will believe it when they see it.

'Scepticism is rife'

Mr Taylor's offer to leave has to be taken at face value, as he made it in front of the most powerful leader in west Africa, President Obasanjo.

We have to assume he is going to do it, but scepticism is what you will hear from most Liberians.

The deal is controversial because President Obasanjo used the phrase "safe haven," implying that Mr Taylor won't face the indictment the United Nations court has filed against him in Sierra Leone.

The people are weary of war, they want a solution that brings peace
That is the only reason he is going to Nigeria - otherwise he would return to his farm in central Liberia.

The Liberians want peace. They have lived under warlords of one kind or another for too long.

And despite the fact that many here are saying that Mr Taylor should face justice, they also know the potential dangers of taking a tough political line on anything.

The potential violent reaction of politicians and people could cause more misery if Mr Taylor went on trial.

The people are weary of war, they want a solution that brings peace.

Jobs and security would be an added bonus, but peace is their foremost aim.




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