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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Nigeria Troops Arrive in Liberia, U.N. to Vote on Sending Help

Aired August 1, 2003 - 19:12   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: From Iraq to embattled Liberia now.
Tonight the U.S. is calling for a weekend vote by the U.N. Security Council, authorizing international peacekeepers to head to the war torn country. The vote might come as early as tonight.

Now, at the same time, foreign ministers from West African nations are waiting to meet with President Charles Taylor. A lot of talk right now.

The fighting continues in the streets of Monrovia.

CNN's Jeff Koinange is there.

Jeff, I know Nigerian troops have arrived. Still no American Marines. What is the situation on the Monrovia streets?

JEFF KOINANGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, it's a lot worse than we left it about a week ago, if you could imagine that.

As we were driving from the airport, tens of thousands of displaced Liberians making their way out of the city, because the mortars, as you mentioned, were falling thick and fast on this 12th straight day of fighting.

In fact, it's gotten so bad, Anderson, people are resorted to eating cats and dogs. And because it's the rainy season, they're drinking water from puddles accumulated from the rain. It is that deplorable.

Now, there was a lot of fighting just on the outskirts of the city. We heard RPGs, rocket propelled grenades, government forces exchanging this with rebel forces and also, 50 caliber machine guns. It was heavy fighting throughout this day, even as it rained.

Now, those foreign ministers were coming to Liberia in an effort to send a message to President Taylor. Namely, that peacekeepers will be on the ground as early as Monday and that three days after that, President Taylor has to leave.

It was supposed to be a two-hour meeting. President Taylor sent a message saying he was out fighting in the second city of Buchanan, where fresh fighting broke out and that he would possibly meet them sometime in the weekend. So the foreign ministers have had to spend the night in this war ravaged city, Anderson.

COOPER: Jeff Koinange, stay safe. Thanks for the update.

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