FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 28, 2006
Royce Statement on Reports of Charles Taylor Disappearance
Africa Subcommittee Vice-Chair calls on President Bush to Cancel Tomorrow’s Meeting with Nigerian President Obasanjo
WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Representative Ed Royce (CA-40), vice-chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights, and International Operations, issued the following statement in reaction to recent developments surrounding the status of former Liberian President Charles Taylor:
“According to the Associated Press this morning, former Liberian President Charles Taylor has disappeared from his luxury villa in Calabar, Nigeria. This is the nightmare scenario that many were worried about.
“Yesterday, a State Department spokesman said that the United States told Nigerian President Obasanjo that it was Nigeria’s responsibility to ?see that [Taylor] is able to be conveyed and face justice.’ Obviously, this was not done, and for that, the Nigerians must be held accountable.”
“Nigeria reportedly has let a mass murderer with alleged links to al-Qaeda slip out the back door. President Bush should cancel tomorrow’s scheduled meeting with President Obasanjo.”
Royce went on to warn countries who might be considering taking in Charles Taylor that such a move would be unwise. “Any country that offers Charles Taylor sanctuary should know that such action will be met with stiff opposition in the U.S. Congress – including serious sanctions.“
Royce chaired the House subcommittee on Africa from 1997-2006. Under his chairmanship, the subcommittee held several Congressional hearings focused on Liberia, Sierra Leone, Charles Taylor and the Special Court forSierra Leone. In 2005, Royce authored a Congressional resolution that passed the House of Representatives calling on Nigeria to send Taylor to the Special Court.