U.S. Defense Delegation On Assessment Mission

By C. Winnie Saywah-Jimmy

A member of a joint visiting USAID delegation from the United States Department of Defense says the delegation’s visit has brought unique capabilities to support Liberia in its fight against the Ebola virus.

Michael Lumpkin, the Assistant Secretary of Defense at the Department of Defense expressed gratitude to the Liberian people through the Minister of National Defense, Brownie Samukai for the warm hospitality accorded him and his delegation yesterday when the delegation paid a courtesy visit at the Ministry of National Defense.

He thanked the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) for its support to the U.S. Military which is helping them to be able to respond in an expeditious manner adding, “We have come with no fixed solution but together we can make progress in the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease.”

Mr. Lumpkin and delegation who are on a two-day visit in the country said the visit is intended to get full understanding of what the Department of Defense can best do to support the USAID and the Ambassador in the Ebola crisis in Liberia as well as support their responsibility in the international response.

Liberia’s Defense Minister, Samukai, reiterated the Liberian government’s appreciation to the United States Government for its support to the Ebola affected countries in the region and particularly praised the leadership role being demonstrated by the U.S. leadership.

Minister Samukai said the delegation’s visit is a boost for the country and the Department of Defense’s kind of cooperation and relationship and that it signifies that Liberia is not alone in the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease.

He further praised US Ambassador Deborah Malac who accompanied the delegation to the headquarters of the Ministry of National Defense for raising the concerns of Liberia out there to her government noting, “Stopping the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease is the concern of the Liberian Government right now.”

The Defense Minister said it is hoped that the country will achieve if Liberians can cooperate in dealing with the crisis and that he looks forward to the engagement of the AFL especially in the civil military response support in the engineering field.

Meanwhile, Minister Samukai has re-echoed the Commander-in-Chief’s statement that the AFL will, as of 30th September, be withdrawing the law enforcement supportive role in the country and turn its attention to a more civil-oriented mission as a ‘force for good’ in the fight against Ebola.