President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has asked the United States to be a very strong partner to Liberia through a process that will see a civilian president turn over to another civilian president in a peaceful election process in 2017.
Chatting with newly accredited U.S. Ambassador to Liberia Christine Ann Elder at the presentation of her letter of credence on Thursday, 23 June, Mrs. Sirleaf indicated that there can be nothing greater for Liberia’s development than free, fair, peaceful election.
“... Because it will represent the first time in almost two decades that a civilian president will turn over to a civilian president in a peaceful process,” she said Thursday morning in the Cabinet Room of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
But she was emphatic that in order to succeed in this endeavor for a civilian president to turn over to another civilian president in a peaceful process, the United State must be a very strong partner to Liberia through this process, stressing that what is most important to Liberia now is the ensuing election.
She noted further that it would attest to Liberia’s political maturity, re-emphasizing that should Liberia “pass that test,” it will really be on an irreversible road to consolidate the progress that has been made here.
Commenting on the extraordinary visit of U.S First Lady Michelle Obama and her children - Sasha and Malia Obama on Monday, 27 June, President Sirleaf assured that in the short while Mrs. Obama will stay here and experience the warm reception and gratitude of the Liberian people.
But Mrs. Sirleaf expressed some disappointment that the U.S. First Lady will not stay longer without the chance for Liberians to see her. “I have to express some disappointment because we had hoped that [she] would have longer stay and have a chance for our people to see her in the morning …, but we understand there are other commitments that are to be met that could not allow that to happen,” President Sirleaf
Drilling Amb. Elder through a number of issues here, President Sirleaf noted that education continues to be a challenge, particularly in rural areas where access to school is challenging. In the area of security, she said Liberia’s entire army was trained to be a professional army with the assistance of the United States; but noted that in the health sector, the outbreak of Ebola exposed Liberia’s weak health system. She, however, applauded the very strong support received from the U.S. Military and other institutions in combating the disease.
She further said right now agriculture is becoming government’s greatest priority, though she admitted that more still needed to be done about value addition geared toward moving to a manufacturing country where jobs can be created.
U.S. Ambassador Christine Ann Elder thanked President Sirleaf for the reception she received, assuring her of her preparedness to work with her in strengthening cooperation and partnership between the two states.
Amb. Elder used the occasion to applaud her U.S. Embassy Team for everything they have been doing over the years.