Liberian President Taylor resigns, Blah sworn in
MONROVIA: Liberia’s President Charles Taylor resigned on Monday under pressure from the United States, which hopes his departure will speed an end to violence that has gripped Liberia and West Africa for nearly 14 years.
Taylor is now expected to leave the broken shell of a nation founded by freed American slaves in the 19th century. At least 2,000 people perished in the most recent fighting with rebels for the capital Monrovia. “I want to be the sacrificial lamb,” Taylor said in a handover speech filled with religious and African imagery that began in a sombre tone and grew more upbeat as Taylor got into his usual confident stride.
“There are two things that I want for the people of Liberia, one that they live, two that they see peace. Today for me is a day of moving forward. We must now put the past behind us.” “I leave you with these parting words, God willing I will be back,” Taylor said.
Meanwhile, Moses Blah was sworn in as president of Liberia on Monday, replacing Taylor who stepped down as leader of the war-torn West African nation. Blah, formerly the vice-president, took the oath of office at a ceremony attended by South African President Mbeki and other African leaders. Blah will stay until October and then hand over to an interim administration picked by warring factions and political parties at talks in Ghana. —Reuters