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Economist: “Bush Demands Regime Change in Liberia”

Posted July. 06, 2003 21:45,   


“It is not North Korea or Syria which is next on President George Bush’s list for regime change but it is Liberia and Zimbabwe.”

U.S. President George W. Bush will visit five African nations - Senegal, South Africa, Botswana, Uganda and Nigeria - from July 7 to July 12. One of the main objectives of his tour will be regime change in Liberia and Zimbabwe which have been swept away by civil wars, the Economist analyzed Friday.

The White House strongly demanded that Liberia`s dictator, Charles Taylor, step down immediately, and is expediting its preparation for a contingent of 2,000 American troops for dispatch to Liberia.

President Taylor gained control over the Liberian government in the 1980s having come from the training camps of Muammar Qaddafi, Libya`s president, which is listed as a country that sponsors terrorism by the United States. Taylor backed rebellions that killed a large number of civilians in Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, and the Ivory Coast. Today, Liberians have been demonstrating on a daily basis in front of the American embassy in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, pleading that the U.S. intervene in the current civil war, the Economist reported. President Taylor is reportedly considering going into exile in Nigeria.

In case of Zimbabwe, despite the opposition party`s victory, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), over last year`s general election, Robert Mugabe arrested the leadership of the MDC for treason and declared himself re-elected. The governments, civilian organizations of the five African nations, UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, and leaders of the MDC will strongly demand that President Bush put pressure on Zimbabwe and Bush will also have in-depth discussions on it, the Economist reported.

The U.S. has been reluctant to intervene in Africa since its withdrawal from the civil war in Somalia in 1993, after 18 American troops were killed. The success of raids by British and French intervention in Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast has increased the possibility of U.S. intervention.

UN Secretary-General Annan also will also urge President Bush to commit U.S. troops to a French-led peace keeping force in the Congo, the Economist added.

Meanwhile, President Bush is expected to promise large scale food aid and announce a $100 million anti-terrorism fund for East African countries. In addition, he will use the trip to promote his $15 billion plan for fighting AIDS which is wide spread in Africa to Congress.

“Some Africans believe that President Bush`s visit to Africa is for natural resources trade. They see it as ‘oil hunting’ and believe that regime change in Zimbabwe is only for oil,” the Chinese Xinhua news agency reported.

Ki-Tae Kwon kkt@donga.com