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LIBERIAN TRUCE HOLDS AS LEADERS GATHER IN GHANA

A cease-fire called by one of Liberia's main warlords was holding Tuesday as West African leaders and Liberian officials gathered for peace talks in Ghana.

Charles Taylor, head of one of the militia groups that have wrecked Monrovia in a month of bloodshed, has refused to join the talks that begin in Accra on Wednesday, giving little hope the summit will produce significant results.Although fighting continued well past Taylor's call for a cease-fire at noon Monday, there was heavy rain in the capital Tuesday, and a gloomy calm prevailed.

The Free Port of Monrovia, jammed with thousands of Liberians trying to flee the burning capital over the weekend, was relatively quiet Tuesday.

In Accra, the foreign ministers of nine West African countries met to draw up the agenda for the two-day summit by the Economic Community of West African States.

Negotiators hope to put the Liberian peace accord reached last year back on track. The accord called for three militia leaders, including Taylor, and three civilians to be seated on a ruling council to prepare for elections by August.

Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings said he was disappointed by the refusal of Taylor and his chief ally, Alhaji Kromah, to attend the talks.

"There seems to be a blackout at the end of the tunnel," Rawlings said Monday. He said West Africans were growing weary of the financial and emotional strain the Liberian war has placed on the region.