Liberian President 'to quit' as part of ceasefire

Charles Taylor could step down as Liberian President under a truce paving the way for a transitional government and bringing peace to the West African country of which rebels control two-thirds.

The ceasefire was struck yesterday by Liberian government and rebel negotiators in neighbouring Ghana, which has been badly hit by the past three years of almost continuous fighting in Liberia. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled the country.

The rebels - who have reached the gates of the capital Monrovia in recent days - had insisted that Mr Taylor, who has been indicted for war crimes by a UN court in Sierra Leone, leave office as part of the peace deal.

Mr Taylor, however, has been pushing for his indictment to be lifted, and had earlier agreed only to step down at the end of his term in January. It is now understood that he has agreed to go when the transitional government is formed within the next 30 days.

The accord states that the transitional government "will not include the current president". The interim government is to include representatives of the two groups of rebels and political parties.

As of last night, however, Mr Taylor's spokesman was insisting that the stipulation about his departure was still not set in stone. "We believe that all of those demands - like resignation, stepping aside, interim government and unity government - will have to be thrashed out," his spokesman told the Associated Press.

Mr Taylor's refusal to live up to an earlier promise of setting up a government of national unity led to the creation of the two rebel groups which launched their offensive on the capital from opposite ends of the country.

Daniel Chea, the Liberian Defence Minister, who signed on behalf of his government, said: "By this, we're letting the world know that the government of Liberia wishes in no way to be part of any further bloodshed." Mr Chea said Mr Taylor himself "fully supports this accord".

If all goes well, there will now be discussions on a full peace settlement that would involve the dispatch of West-African-led peacekeepers in a "stabilisation" force, possibly with some US assistance.News of the ceasefire had residents dancing in the streets of, Monrovia, the Associated Press said.

Last week, Mr Taylor declared Liberia would have no peace unless the war crimes indictment was dropped. But a spokesman for the UN Sierra Leone war crimes court said Mr Taylor would have to face justice.

Mr Taylor has been President since 1997 when he won elections after emerging as the strongest warlord after a seven-year civil war. But given the remaining uncertainties, and Liberia's past record in securing a lasting peace, it may be too soon to write him off.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

KS1 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Supply Teacher re...

KS2 Teaching Supply Wakefield

£140 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS2 Supply Teacher r...

Year 1/2 Teacher

£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required,...

Primary Teachers Needed for Supply in Wakefield

£140 - £160 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1&2 Supply Te...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam