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U.S. Military Team in Liberia

A U.S. military assessment team arrived in Liberia Monday to lay the groundwork for a possible American military deployment to the embattled African country. The team left the U.S. base at Rota, Spain, and landed at the U.S. Embassy compound in Monrovia. Its mission will be to assess what U.S. troops could do to aid the return of non-governmental organizations to Liberia. Arriving in two helicopters, the mission was greeted by embassy officials. The team and its security detail number about 35 people. Lt. Corey Barker, a U.S. Navy spokesman at Rota, said the team includes experts in civil engineering, civil affairs, medicine, water purification, logistics and contracting. Most are drawn from the Navy’s European headquarters in London, he said. Its findings will be sent back to the U.S. European Command, the Pentagon and the White House for a decision about potentially deploying U.S. troops to Liberia, where fighting between government troops and rebels trying to oust President Charles Taylor has persisted despite a June 17 cease-fire agreement. Full Story

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