The rebel Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) rejected a draft of a peace agreement drawn up by West African mediators in the Ghanaian capital Accra, saying it was inadequate.

  

LURD and a second rebel group, the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL), faulted the plan for failing to propose three vice presidents in a power-sharing transitional government for the west African state.

 

Fighting abates

 

Meanwhile, shelling abated in the city centre and only stray fire was heard in the Mamba Point diplomatic area, where several shells had landed in the day.

  

One fell on a house near the US embassy and the office of the British aid organisation Merlin, causing two injuries and one death, according to witnesses.

  

Defence Minister Daniel Chea said brutal battles in the last four to five days had pushed the civilian death number "well above the 600 mark," adding that it could be as many as 700.

 

Taylor finds time for his
mother's funeral at last

As the fighting raged, a sobbing President Charles Taylor on Tuesday held a moving funeral for his mother who died a month ago, saying he did not bury her earlier due to Liberia's raging civil war.

 

Taylor revealed his private side at the funeral for Louise Yassa Zoe Taylor, who was suffering from breast cancer for two-and-a-half years and passed away on 25 June. 

  

Taylor said in an emotion-choked voice, "I was going to honour my mother no matter what. There were those who wanted to disturb the process. Even if I had to keep her in my bedroom I was prepared to do so to give her a decent funeral," he said, before breaking into sobs.

  

He hit out at the international community for failing to send peacekeepers to end a devastating four-year civil war, saying they were "turning a blind eye and pretending they don't know what's going on while people are dying."

 

Concern

 

Anger is mounting over US President George W Bush's refusal to heed international calls led by UN chief Kofi Annan and France to lead a multinational peacekeeping force in the west African country.

  

Nigeria, West Africa's military powerhouse, on Tuesday said it would not send the peacekeepers it had pledged if there was no ceasefire in Liberia.

  

This, despite international aid agencies voicing growing concern about the humanitarian situation in Monrovia.