Wednesday, March 29, 2006

When will I be 'Confident' that Bush will stand trial for war crimes ????

Bush 'Confident' Taylor Will Stand Trial for War Crimes
By Melanie Hunter Senior Editor
March 29, 2006

( - President Bush Wednesday praised Nigeria for its work in apprehending warlord and rebel leader, Charles Taylor, who has been charged with crimes related to Sierra Leone's 14-year civil war.

After his ouster as leader of Liberia, Taylor lived in exile in Nigeria - the result of a deal with Nigerian President Olesegun Obasanjo in 2003. Taylor "disappeared" this week after Washington upped the pressure on Nigeria to surrender him to a war crimes tribunal.

Bush was urged by Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), vice-chairman of the Africa subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee, and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who serves on the Africa subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to cancel his meeting with Obasanjo until Taylor is found.

"The fact that Charles Taylor will be brought to justice in a court of law will help Liberia and is a signal, Mr. President, of your deep desire for there to be peace in your neighborhood," Bush told Obasanjo in an Oval Office meeting.

Obasanjo denied that his country was responsible for Taylor's disappearance.

"I do not agree, must disagree that we have been negligent in the way we handled the Charles Taylor issue," Obasanjo said.

"If we had been negligent, then Charles Taylor would have got away," Obasanjo said. "He would not have been arrested if there was negligence."

Ina press conference later in Washington, Bush was asked by a reporter whether Bush is confident that Taylor will stand trial now that he has been recaptured. "I'm much more confident today than I was yesterday," Bush said, jokingly.

"Such a process will require a United Nations Security Council resolution. Secretary Rice who was in a meeting told me that she thought that ... might happen relatively quickly. So therefore, I think he is headed for where he belongs, which is trial," said Bush.

The president said he spoke to the new leader of Liberia, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf about Taylor's initial disappearance.

"She was deeply concerned that Charles Taylor could be in a position to disturb this young democracy. I must tell you that I was most impressed by the leader from Liberia," said Bush, who added that America should be anxious to work with Sirleaf to help Liberia overcome years of violence.

"We certainly will do our efforts in the diplomatic channels to see to it that that's the case," he said.

Bush said he talked to Obasanjo about genocide in Sudan. "I'm deeply worried about the human conditions in Darfur. Ours is a government that spoke out about genocide, and we meant it," he said.

Bush said he thanked Obasanjo for the AU presence in Sudan but he told Obasanjo the presence is not "robust enough."

"I do believe there needs to be a blue helmeting of, not only the AU forces, but additional forces with a NATO overlay. And the reason I believe NATO ought to be a part of operation is two-fold," said Bush.

First, NATO will provide logistical and command-and-control and airlift capability as well as to send a clear signal to all parties that the West is determined to help reach a settlement in the matter, the president said.

"We're just not playing ... a diplomatic holding game," said Bush, "but that when we say genocide, we mean that the genocide has to be stopped." He also discussed with Obasanjo the need to establish a peace process going forward and to see unity amongst the rebel groups.

"The president told me he has met with the rebel groups trying to come up with a focused message that can then be used to negotiate with the government of Sudan,"
said Bush.

As a result of that meeting, Obasanjo came up with a template, resource-sharing agreement that, if implemented for the north-south region can be developed and used for the Darfur region,"
Bush added.


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