Liberia's President Charles Taylor has recorded a farewell address to the nation as he prepares to step down under international pressure.
Taylor says he does not want to see his people suffer any more
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."
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
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.
"I realised that I could no longer see the blood of our
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 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
"God willing, I will be back."