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Situation Report: Liberia: Peace at Last?, Jan Hennop
8 September 2003

Charles Taylor, former president of Africa`s oldest independent republic, Liberia, flew off into exile in Nigeria on August 11, thereby raising hopes about an end to almost 14 years of continuous fighting in the west African country. Following the former warlord`s departure to Nigeria, where he is being hosted at a luxury mansion in Calabar, in the south eastern corner of the country`s Cross River state, his deputy Moses Blah took over on the same day and rebel leaders signed a peace deal a week later.

The new peace pact, which will see Blah hand over power to an interim government on October 14, has raised hopes of ending a four-year war, the latest in a series of wars the country has known. The pact calls amongst other things for an immediate end to the war and a ceasefire, as well as for the West African peacekeeping forces ECOMIL to be deployed to secure the ceasefire and to create a buffer zone between government and rebel forces. It also calls on the United Nations to deploy a stabilisation force in conjunction with ECOWAS forces under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which allows the use of force, to back the transitional government until elections in 2005.