President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has assured a United States congressional delegation of her administration’s commitment to upholding the rule of law following the drawdown of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). The Liberian leader said Government has initiated several measures to ensure peace, law and order in the absence of the Mission. She named the training of the military, police and the decentralization of Liberia’s justice system by the creation of security and justice hubs across the country as some practical steps taken by her administration.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader made the statement when a U.S. Congressional delegation, including Adam Daniel Kinzinger (R) and David Cicilline (D) of Illinois and Rhode Island respectively, paid her a courtesy call.
The delegation’s visit is aimed at assessing the United Nation’s work in Liberia. It was organized and paid for by the United Nations Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports the UN’s work, established by CNN founder Ted Turner.
Briefing the delegation on Liberia’s progress and challenges, President Sirleaf said while her administration is applying all efforts to upholding these national duties from its meager resources, her government is open to bilateral talks for partnership especially in training the Liberia National Police. She named training, compensation and logistical support as critical needs of the police. “We are equally aware that Liberians should take responsibility of their country’s security,” President Sirleaf clarified.
In other areas, the Liberian leader stressed the need for robust private sector investments which will greatly address unemployment. She also spoke of the need to invest in Small Medium Enterprises which she said have demonstrated to be a stimulus to economic growth.
Further on the economy, President Sirleaf said Liberia is still challenged with adding value to its products as a greater number of its exports are still done in their crude form. She however informed the delegation that the economy is growing and attributed the growth to, among other things, ten years of uninterrupted peace.
The Liberian leader named ongoing road and power initiatives as some of her administration’s interventions; an initiative, she emphasized, which is well on course in restoring to the people basic social services.
On the long term policy, Vision 2030, and the shorter term Agenda for Transformation, the President informed her guests that her administration has begun the implementation of these policies which, among other things, highlight youth empowerment, reconciliation and the creation of a middle class in the economy.
Earlier, Illinois Republican Congressmen Kinzinger, on behalf of the delegation, praised President Sirleaf for her steadfastness in Liberia’s post-war recovery. He said they were proud of Liberia’s progress and their visit has further helped to build relations between the UN Foundation and Liberia.
The delegation which departs Wednesday, November 6, has been in Liberia for the last four days meeting with U.S. Embassy officials, Liberian legislators, the heads of Liberia’s armed forces, national police, among others. The delegation was escorted to the President’s Office by US Ambassador to Liberia, Deborah Malac.