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Vol 38 No 18

Published 12th September 1997

Less than economic

West Africa's economic club has won one war and begun another

Charles Taylor, Liberia's new President, paid the supreme compliment: 'But for the stern commitment of Ecowas, we may still have been at war'. At its 20th summit in Abuja, the 16-member Economic Community of West African States was able to rate itself a success – although the assembled leaders could hardly forget that its military arm, the Ecowas Monitoring Group (Ecomog), had spent the best part of its seven years' existence trying to prevent the rise to power of Taylor, who won the Liberian election on 19 July. Taylor's rapprochement with General Sani Abacha of Nigeria, Ecowas' (and Ecomog's) dominant member, enabled the bloodshed to end.

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