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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 December 2005, 14:46 GMT
Weah drops Liberia poll challenge
George Weah
Mr Weah says he is acting in the interests of reconciliation
Football star George Weah has dropped his legal challenge after losing last month's presidential poll in Liberia.

The move will allow the inauguration of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as Africa's first elected woman head of state.

"Our decision is based on our desire to see the Liberian people achieve durable and genuine peace," he told reporters.

Last week, police clashed with Mr Weah's supporters after he said Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf would not be sworn in as planned in January.

Liberia's electoral commission then dismissed charges of electoral fraud brought by Mr Weah's CDC party.

The party's lawyers had said they would take the appeal to the Supreme Court.

Mr Weah is not dropping his claims of being cheated, but said he would drop his action to give Liberians "the opportunity to carry on the business of national recovery and redemption in an atmosphere of tranquillity", Reuters news agency reports.

The African Union had urged Mr Weah to accept the results as further protests by his supporters could have undermined peace.

Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf won 59% of the vote in November's run-off, against 41% for Mr Weah, who gained most votes in the first round.

She is set to become Liberia's first elected head of state since the end of 14 years of war in 2003; and will also be Africa's first elected woman president.

Mrs Johnson Sirleaf has offered Mr Weah a job in her government, but it is not yet clear if this offer has been accepted.

The postwar challenges for Mrs Johnson Sirleaf are enormous.

The country is riddled with corruption, and lacks any decent public services including piped water or electricity.

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