.contact us |.about us
News > International News ... ...
US troops in Liberia not 'peacekeepers,' Pentagon says
( 2003-08-14 09:14) (NY Times)

The Pentagon said Wednesday that about 200 more United States troops could soon go ashore in Liberia.But officials emphasized that their mission was not peacekeeping in the usual sense.

Rather, their purpose will be "to achieve a stable environment so that humanitarian assistance can be provided to the people of Liberia, and also to facilitate the transition to a U.N.-led international peacekeeping operation," Maj. Gen. Norton Schwartz said, his language reflecting the Bush administration's and military leaders' wariness on Liberia.

The 200 marines would augment a force of about 80 Americans already in Liberia assisting a Nigerian peacekeeping force there, Defense Department officials said. General Schwartz, the director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, added that not all the 200 marines would remain ashore overnight.

Lawrence DiRita, special assistant to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, said the new contingent of troops would be assigned largely to communications and engineering missions.

As if to emphasize that the Americans would not be in Liberia as true peacekeepers, the officials said that the troops would go ashore once rebels entirely abandoned the port serving Monrovia, which they have promised to do by Thursday to allow food shipments to thousands of hungry people. The capital has been torn by rioting and looting as people desperately search for food.

When a questioner suggested that the Americans' mission could potentially put them in combat, General Schwartz said, "There is a reaction capability, should something unexpected occur."

Earlier in the day, President Bush reiterated his desire that the American mission remain one of assistance and aid, as opposed to peacekeeping.

"One of the things I have said all along was that we are there to help ECOMIL do its job of providing the conditions necessary for the arrival of relief," Mr. Bush said in Crawford, Tex., using the acronym for the African peacekeeping force. "They are in the lead, and we are there to support and help."

At the Pentagon, Mr. DiRita said the 200 or so additional American troops "are not involved in securing the port" at Monrovia.

"They are going to be there as the Nigerian commander uses his forces to secure his areas as a quick reaction force to assist as may be needed," Mr. DiRita said. "But they're not taking responsibility for any particular security areas."

  Today's Top News   Top International News
+The next great leap after Shenzhou V
( 2003-10-21)
+Hu calls for balanced development
( 2003-10-21)
+Report: SARS not airborne virus
( 2003-10-21)
+Japan urged to resolve weapons issue
( 2003-10-21)
+Int'l AIDS group opens Beijing office
( 2003-10-21)
+US hopes Iraq fund will attract donors
( 2003-10-21)
+Bolivia ex-president vows to return
( 2003-10-21)
+UN report: US war on terror radicalizes Arabs
( 2003-10-21)
+Israel raids in Gaza kill 10, wound 100
( 2003-10-21)
+EU ministers arrive in Iran for nuclear talks
( 2003-10-21)
  Go to Another Section  
  Article Tools  
  Related Articles  

+Liberian rebels to pull back as US marines awaited

+Liberians hope for supplies as rebels pledge exit

+Liberian rebels say will pull back from Monrovia

+New Liberia leader seeks US help as Taylor leaves

+Liberia's Taylor yield's power for exile

+Reluctant Taylor prepares to leave Liberia

+Starving crowds gather in Liberia capital

        .contact us |.about us
  Copyright By chinadaily.com.cn. All rights reserved