LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES
Liberian President Taylor's Days Numbered
Aired August 7, 2003 - 19:12 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We want to go overseas for a moment to Liberia, where President Charles Taylor's days are numbered. He is preparing to exit as peacekeepers continue streaming in trying to keep order.
Jeff Koinange joins us with from Monrovia with the latest on the crisis -- Jeff.
JEFF KOINANGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Anderson.
West African peacekeepers and a handful of U.S. troops are patrolling the mean streets of Monrovia tonight, as embattled Liberian President Charles Taylor tells CNN that he plans to stick to his word to not only step down, but also leave the country altogether.
KOINANGE (voice-over): War-weary Liberians take to the streets of the capital to welcome the arrival of West African peacekeepers. It's first time in over seven years that peacekeepers have been called to rescue Liberia from civil war.
The convoy of APCs, trucks and about 400 heavily armed, but waving soldiers, including some U.S. Marines, weaved its way through the mean streets in a show of force unseen here in a long time.
(on camera): A sight Liberians thought they would never see in their lifetimes: the presence of peacekeepers on the ground in this battle-scarred capital.
(voice-over): At times, it seemed the peacekeepers were about to be overrun by the surging crowd. But the soldiers took it all in stride. Many here see these men as the country's new heroes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody want peace in this country. We don't want war anymore. No more war.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want peace. No more war. No more war. No more war. No more war.
KOINANGE: They are not the only ones welcoming the peacekeepers. So, too, is the country's president, Charles Taylor. Plus, he told CNN, the U.S. should have had the courtesy to inform him they were sending troops.
CHARLES TAYLOR, LIBERIAN PRESIDENT: There's a government here. They will have sent us a note that Black Hawk helicopters were landing at the embassy. That's what you do if you respect international law. But we have no choice. But we still accept American presence here. But people have to learn to do it properly.
KOINANGE: Taylor restated his pledge to step down this coming Monday, giving way to this man, Vice President Moses Blah. On when he plans to leave the country:
TAYLOR: It's a secret, but I can assure you that what I have said this morning to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) this morning will happen. And my movement and what I do is a matter of security. I'm not going to discuss it publicly. But I can assure the world that my words that I have given will be carried out. And just watch and see.
KOINANGE: Watching and seeing if its president finally follows through on his pledge to seek asylum in nearby Nigeria.
KOINANGE: Now, Anderson, Sunday, Mr. Taylor addresses the nation and, the following day, officially hands over power to his vice president. And then the world takes a collective breath to see when Mr. Taylor will leave for his new home away from home -- Anderson.
COOPER: Well, we will be watching and seeing.
Jeff Koinange, thanks very much from Monrovia.
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