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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 August, 2003, 20:53 GMT 21:53 UK
Text: Taylor's farewell speech
President Charles Taylor
Taylor says he does not want to see his people suffer any more
Liberia's President Charles Taylor has recorded a farewell address to the nation as he prepares to step down under international pressure.

Below are extracts from the speech:

He said that his "people's revolution" had been justified as former President Samuel Doe's administration was corrupt and responsible for numerous atrocities and human rights abuses.

The Lurd rebels emerged after his 1997 poll victory and terrorised the countryside.

"Our friend and ally the United States refused to acknowledge the existence of war."

Something as simple as a toothpick cannot be exported from Liberia
The international community, led by the United States and Britain, had denied Liberians the right to defend themselves by imposing an arms embargo, he said.

A UN travel ban prevented government officials from visiting Western nations to defend their cause and timber sanctions starved the country of revenue.

"Something as simple as a toothpick cannot be exported from Liberia."

His exit from office was a "self-fulfilling prophecy".

"This is an American war. Lurd is a surrogate force."

Mr Taylor said the Lurd rebels had been trained in Guinea with American money.

"[The United States] caused this war... but we appreciate their presence. They can call off their dogs now.

Liberia is bleeding. It's being raped by foreigners
"I realised that I could no longer see the blood of our people wasted."

He had decided to make the ultimate sacrifice, and be the "sacrificial lamb", the "whipping boy".

"I must stop fighting now. I do not stop out of fear of the fight. I stop now out of love for you," he said. "For me it is no longer important that I fight. What is important is that you live and there is peace."

The United States was the "architect of the anti-Taylor policy", but it could make a huge difference to Liberia if it spent just a tiny fraction of what it will spend in Iraq.

"There are massive resources here... gold, diamonds - all they needed to support you, our people.

I did not want to leave this country - I can say I am being forced into exile
"I have fought for you. I have resisted attempts in the past to sign agreements that would take everything. I hope they do not sign these agreements now.

"I challenge George Bush, with due respect Mr President, please, you are a man of God, do something for our people.

"It must be for real now. Liberia is bleeding. It's being raped by foreigners. Guineans and Sierra Leonean Kamajors are cutting the breasts off women, cutting the hearts out of people and eating them on camera, Mr President.

"Liberians will never forget this period if America did not come in and come in right.

"Lurd must submit itself to the democratic process. I urge the new administration and the West African community not to tamper with the constitution of Liberia.

"I'm stepping down from office of my own volition. No-one can take credit for asking me to step down. I did not want to leave this country. I can say I am being forced into exile.

"I can no longer see you suffering, the suffering is enough.

"God willing, I will be back."

The BBC's Barnaby Phillips
"Behind rebel lines the situation is critical"


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