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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon


Secretary-General's press encounter upon arrival at UNHQ

New York, 29 March 2006

SG: I think it is a great relief, that he [Charles Taylor] has been recaptured. I spoke to President [Olusegun] Obasanjo in Washington last night, and he assured me how surprised he himself was, and had taken every measure to ensure that they search for him and had also put under arrest the guards who were watching Taylor. We do expect Taylor to be sent to the Sierra Leonean Court some time today, and the Court will put him under custody.

Q: Will the UN be helping in that transfer?

SG: We may be required to offer technical assistance, yes.

Q: And will he go via Liberia?

SG: It is not excluded, it is not excluded. Even if he does go via Liberia, I am not sure if he would go into Monrovia, or if he would transit through the airport.

Q: How do you feel about his capture and his impending trial in terms of closing a chapter in one of the most certainly brutal conflicts in West Africa?

SG: I think his capture and being put on trial does not only close a chapter, but it also sends a powerful message to the region that impunity will not be allowed to stand, and would-be warlords will pay a price. And I think this is relevant, not just for what happened in Sierra Leone and Liberia, but in other parts of the region and the continent.

Thank you very much.

Off-the-Cuff on 29 March 2006