Former Niderian president arrives to mediate in elections dispute

Former Nigerian President Abdulsalami Abubakar arrived in Liberia on Wednesday at the head of a delegation of the 15-nation West African community to mediate in a dispute that could delay the country's first postwar elections.

Liberia's Supreme Court ruled last week that two presidential candidates initially excluded from the Oct. 11 vote could register to run. U.N. officials said reprinting ballot papers to include their names would delay the vote.

Abubakar left the Nigerian capital, Abuja, and arrived in Liberia with a delegation of the Economic Community of West African States. ECOWAS spokesman Sunny Ugoh said Abubakar would hold discussions with top officials in Liberia.

In Liberia, the U.S Embassy said it believed the vote would take place as scheduled.

Officials at Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo's office said Obasanjo was likely to travel to Liberia on Friday to help resolve the issue.

Liberians are supposed to vote for a new president and legislature to replace the interim government that came to power after former warlord-turned-president Charles Taylor was forced into exile when a 2003 peace deal ended years of fighting. AM

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