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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
03ABUJA1078
2003-06-19 11:48:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Abuja
Cable title:  

NIGERIA: OBASANJO ON LIBERIA: TAYLOR IS FINISHED;

Tags:   PREL  MOPS  LI  SL  NI  ECOWAS 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L ABUJA 001078 

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/19/2013
TAGS: PREL MOPS LI SL NI ECOWAS
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: OBASANJO ON LIBERIA: TAYLOR IS FINISHED;
GON WILLING TO PROVIDE ASYLUM


REF: A. ACCRA 1164

B. STATE 138730


CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR HOWARD F. JETER; REASONS 1.5 (B)
AND (D).


C O N F I D E N T I A L ABUJA 001078

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/19/2013
TAGS: PREL MOPS LI SL NI ECOWAS
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: OBASANJO ON LIBERIA: TAYLOR IS FINISHED;
GON WILLING TO PROVIDE ASYLUM


REF: A. ACCRA 1164

B. STATE 138730


CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR HOWARD F. JETER; REASONS 1.5 (B)
AND (D).



1. (C) In two meetings on other issues during the past
week, Ambassador raised developments in Liberia with
President Obasanjo. Obasanjo said Taylor was "finished" as
President of Liberia. Obasanjo said he, Ghanaian President
Kufuor and others at the Accra talks had leaned hard on
Taylor to accept a three-stage plan precluding Taylor's
participation in a transition government that ultimately
would lead to internationally supervised elections in
Liberia. According to Obasanjo, it was this pressure that
precipitated Taylor's announcement that he would leave
office.



2. (C) Notwithstanding Taylor's indictment by the Special
Court in Sierra Leone, Obasanjo reiterated the GON's
willingness to offer Taylor asylum if he chooses to leave
Liberia. Obasanjo said he was willing to take Taylor in,
however, "something would have to be done" about the
indictment.



3. (C) Ambassador advised Obasanjo that the GON use its
influence with the LURD to get the insurgents to bridle
their ambitions and maintain the cease-fire in order to
avoid a humanitarian catastrophe in Monrovia. Obasanjo
replied the U.S. could influence the LURD since he believed
the U.S. supported and provided military assistance to the
rebel group. Ambassador strongly denied USG support for
the LURD.



4. (C) COMMENT: Obasanjo still appears willing to give
Taylor asylum provided the legal complications arising from
the Special Court's indictment can be resolved in a manner
that does not put Nigeria in violation of international
law. Taylor has vowed to fight to the end and on this part
he might be truer to his word than on most other
commitments he has made. The GON is convinced that if
Taylor remains in Liberia this will result in a blood bath
for innocent Liberians, and a humanitarian catastrophe for
the region. Obasanjo believes that Taylor's exile is the
obvious preferred choice. Not only is Taylor's fate in the
balance, the fate of thousands of Monrovians may also be at
stake. Exile seems like the most practical solution and,
as far as we know, Obasanjo's offer is the only one on the
table. END COMMENT.
JETER