Bush extends safe haven for Liberians in US

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WASHINGTON, Sep 13 (Reuters) US President George W Bush granted an extension on Wednesday to a policy that allows Liberians to live and work in the United States on a temporary basis.

Liberians living in the United States under so-called ''temporary protected status'' had faced the risk of deportation because an order granting them safe haven was due to expire on October 1. But Bush decided to extend the protected status for another 18 months.

The temporary safe haven status covers people fleeing wars or natural disasters in their own countries who do not qualify as refugees.

Civil war in Liberia from 1989 to 2003 devastated the once prosperous West African state and killed more than 200,000 people. Explaining his decision to grant the extension, Bush said that although the armed conflict had ended, the political and economic conditions in Liberia were still ''fragile.'' Reuters SZ VP0713

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