Published July 29, 2003
MONROVIA, Liberia – President Charles Taylor (search) is reconsidering his pledge to cede power, seeing it as only encouraging rebel attacks, his spokesman said Tuesday.
The president has been angered by the rebel capture of Buchanan, the nation's second-largest city, on Monday.
"We are of a different opinion now in the government about the validity of the overtures of the president to step down," spokesman Vaanii Paasawe said in Liberia (search), the capital.
The statement marked a change in tone by Taylor, who has repeatedly pledged to resign even though he then hedged or reneged outright on his promises. Most recently, he said he would step down once long-awaited peacekeepers arrive.
A former warlord blamed for 14 years of near-constant conflict in Liberia, Taylor has said since early June he would yield power. He made his first offer to resign as rebels opened what have been two months of siege's on Monrovia (search), Liberia's capital.
Rebels "read that as weakness," Paasawe said of Taylor's promise to quit. "In fact, it has escalated the war."