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Liberian Rebels, Govt in Talks

Liberian President Charles Taylor and rebels fighting his regime were due to begin peace talks in Ghana on Wednesday to end a four-year war that has rocked west Africa and fuelled a humanitarian crisis. The belligerents are meeting face to face for the first time in talks brokered by the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) and a UN-backed contact group.

The main rebels, the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (Lurd), and a new group, the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (Model), were due to be represented by four-member teams. The 18 registered political parties in Liberia and civil society groups will also take part in the talks which are being brokered by former Nigerian president Abdulsalami Abubakar. Liberia’s latest unrest began in 1999, two years after the end of a seven-year civil war that killed about 250 000 people, and has forced about 300 000 Liberians to flee to neighbouring countries, which have stretched their already meagre resources to take them in. Full Story

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