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Pres. Sirleaf off for G-7 meeting

Pres Sirleaf NDPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has departed the country for Schloss Elmau in Upper Bavaria, Germany to attend the 41st summit meeting of the heads of state and government of the Group of Seven (G7) nations.

An Executive Mansion release said the meeting, which takes place from June 7 to 8, will discuss the global economy, foreign, security and development policy, the UN conferences to be held in 2015 as well as the post-2015 agenda.

Other key issues they will address include: protection of the marine environment, marine governance and resource efficiency; antibiotic resistance, neglected and poverty-related disease, and Ebola; retail and supply chain standards; and empowering self-employed women and women in vocational training, among other issues.

In a determination to support African nations in their reform efforts and consequently strengthen peace and security, growth and sustainable development on the continent, the leaders of the G7 have invited several African heads of state and government to join them on the second day of the summit in what is known as the G7 outreach meeting.

African heads of state and government who will participate in the outreach meeting are Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, newly inaugurated Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, Senegal’s President and current ECOWAS chair Macky Sall, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, and Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi. Together with them, the G7 leaders will engage in a wide-range dialogue on Africa and global policy issues.

Also meeting the G7 leaders on the second day will be the chairpersons of international organizations which include: Chair of the African Union Commission (AUC), Dlamini Zuma; International Labor Organization (ILO) Director-General, Guy Ryder; Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde; Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), José Ángel Gurría; President of the World Bank (WB), Jim Kim; Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Roberto Azevêdo; and the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Ban Ki-moon.

The G7 is an informal forum of heads of state and government of seven industrialized nations which includes France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada and host Germany. As a consequence of the oil and financial crisis the heads of state and government of the six largest industrial nations held their first World Economic Summit in 1975. Canada joined the group in 1976, Russia joined in 1998 but is suspended for the time being following its annexation of Crimea last year. The European Union is also a member.

In a related development, on Saturday, June 6, the eve of the G7 Summit, President Sirleaf will deliver a keynote address at a public mobilization event, “United Against Poverty/Zusammen gegen Armut,” organized by the international lobby and campaign organization ONE and The Global Poverty Project.

The event, which brings together political figures, activists, musicians, engaged celebrities and approximately 15,000 supporters from German and International Civil Society, will call upon Chancellor Angela Merkel and other world leaders to overcome extreme poverty by 2030. The occasion takes place at the Königsplatz in the center of Munich.

According to the organizers, 2015 is a pivotal year to change the future of our people and our planet. This year, world leaders will establish an ambitious, new set of development goals at the UN General Assembly meeting in September and act on climate change. The G7 Summit is a critical moment to ensure that leaders from the world’s richest countries address key issues facing our generation.

The message to world leaders is: “It’s time to keep your promise and show courageous leadership – we must act now to end extreme poverty.”

Meanwhile, while President Sirleaf is away from the country, the Minister of National Defense, Mr. Brownie Samkai, will serve as Acting Chairman of the Cabinet in consultation with Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, Sr. The Liberian leader is expected back on Wednesday, June 9, 2015.

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