MONROVIA, LIBERIA, JULY 28 -- The following, transmitted by the Associated Press, is based on a pool report from journalists in Monrovia.
Five European ambassadors in Liberia have warned that the country is slipping into "anarchy and national suicide" and have called for U.S. military intervention here and for an urgent U.N. Security Council meeting.
Italian Ambassador Gianguido Lanzoni advised his government, on behalf of all the EC ambassadors in Monrovia, that "the interdependence of nations no longer permits other nations to sit idle while one country plunges into anarchy and national suicide."
"There is no longer any effective government in control of this country," Lanzoni told his government in a cable Friday. He suggested that European countries should look favorably on any U.S. move to intervene "in view of the special relationship" between Liberia and the United States.
A U.S. Navy flotilla has been standing off the Liberian coast, but the United States has refused requests for intervention made by the Liberian government of President Samuel Doe.
Rebel soldiers fought to within one mile of Doe's fortified mansion today and battled pockets of government troops for control of a hill overlooking the city center. While the forces of National Patriotic Front leader Charles Taylor remained blocked by government troops six miles east of the capital, the smaller force of a rival rebel leader, Prince Johnson, advanced into the city.
Johnson's disciplined rebel forces, neatly dressed in camouflage uniforms, carefully picked off snipers' nests as they moved up the steep hill toward the Ducor Palace Hotel, which has a view of the city center. Rifle and machine-gun fire reverberated across the hill as civilians hid in their houses.
Johnson's rebels took control of the Waterside and West Point districts, a mile from Doe's mansion.
Doe has pledged to make his final stand inside the heavily fortified mansion. The rebels, who began their offensive in December, accuse the government of corruption and human rights abuses and demand Doe's resignation.
The civil war has degenerated into tribal war between members of Doe's Krahn tribe and those of the Gio and Mano tribes, which largely support the rebels. Diplomats say both sides have indiscriminately killed civilians.
Taylor, in a message broadcast Friday and Saturday over a local radio station, declared the dissolution of Doe's government and promised to hold elections in six months. Taylor said the Doe government was to be replaced by a National Patriotic Reconstruction assembly of which he will be leader.