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Welcoming Taylor's resignation, Annan hopes nightmare is over for Liberians

11 August United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed the decision of Liberian President Charles Taylor to resign office, hoping that it marked the beginning of the end of the "long nightmare" of the people of the war-torn West African country.

In a statement issued in New York, a UN spokesperson said the Secretary-General "expects that [Mr. Taylor] will immediately leave Liberia as promised" and that he "strongly urges all parties in Liberia to observe the ceasefire, and to allow humanitarian assistance to reach the population in all parts of the country."

The Secretary General also urged all Member States to give "whatever assistance they can to the Liberian people in restoring security and stability, notably by supporting and contributing to the multinational force authorized by the Security Council," said spokesperson Hua Jiang.

Noting the progress achieved by the Liberian parties in the negotiations in Accra, Ghana, Ms. Jiang said Mr. Annan believes that all the parties should now make every effort to reach agreement quickly on a process leading to a transitional government which can bring about national reconciliation, and in due course, enable the Liberian people to choose a fully representative leadership through free and fair elections.

The spokesperson said the Secretary-General also wished to express his appreciation for the efforts made by African leaders - notably Presidents Joachim Chissano of Mozambique, John Kufuor of Ghana, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria - to resolve the crisis. She added that Mr. Annan thanked President Obasanjo in particular for the "timely deployment" of Nigerian peacekeeping troops, and the former Nigerian Head of State, General Abdelsalami Abubakar, for his able facilitation of the Accra talks.

"He hopes that the regional leaders will remain closely engaged, and will do whatever they can to maintain stability and help Liberians reach a peaceful resolution of their differences."

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