"Jackson said Obasanjo told him that Nigeria was willing to commit five battalions, but their mandate needed to be peace making and not peacekeeping. Jackson thought Obasanjo would welcome Taylor's offer to commit troops.
Jackson and Taylor then went into another room for a CNN interview. All press was excluded when they returned.
Jackson noted that Liberia is at centre stage as the world press turns its spotlight on Sierra Leone and Liberia's role in the region. Jackson said crisis can turn into opportunity. ECOWAS had turned to Taylor to secure the release of the UN hostages. If he delivers, he will demonstrate leadership. However, if any hostage dies in captivity, the world will blame the RUF. Jackson commended Taylor's clear declaration that the release of UN hostages is not linked to Sankoh's fate. Jackson also praised Taylor for not compromising Liberia's national interests even for a friend like Sankoh. Jackson noted Obasanjo the previous day had called himself Charles Taylor's friend, and based on that friendship was sending someone" - I hope everyone is following. We've had to jump a few lines.
"... based on that friendship was sending someone to meet with Taylor to warn him to stop his destabilising activities. Taylor's statements before the world press (while meeting with Jackson) that the Government of Liberia was not involved in gun-running and diamond smuggling was a big step. Now it was time to prove it, to make a case, to take the issue on. It was important to engage ECOWAS countries and others in the international community to help with border control and verification to dissuade traffickers and smugglers.
Taylor said he'd been trying for years to do just that, to discredit rumours about Liberia. He turned to Foreign Minister Captan and said, 'Take this stuff on. This is about diamonds and deforestation.'
Taylor continued: Reverend Jackson, one of our problems, we've lost the friendship we had with the US government, because we know Washington can stop this. Most people know it's not true. Noting that Liberia needs millions of dollars in investment, Taylor said the international community had shunned Liberia. There was no real forestry industry. The company rumoured to be involved in the deforestation has been operating in Liberia for many years. Instead of undermining the company, let's get to the bottom of this, demanded Taylor. With no big friends in Washington, Taylor lamented, it's hard to fight the rumours."
Which was the forestry company, Mr Taylor?