United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has extolled Liberia for keeping the country on a positive and progressive track following last year's elections.
According to an Executive Mansion release, Mrs. Clinton made these comments at the University of Cheikh Anta Diop, in Dakar, Senegal, on August 1, when she spoke on "Building Sustainable Partnership in Africa." Senegal was the first stop of a 10-day trip across Africa, where the Secretary of State promised American help, friendship and trade which, she stressed, are based on democratic principles and offer African nations a fair shake.
Speaking about Liberia, Secretary Clinton said she had been privileged to attend the second Inauguration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in a country which, only recently, had emerged from years of war and economic ruin.
There had been troubling signs that last year's elections might have reignited the flames of conflict, she said, but Liberia, its leaders and its young democratic institutions proved strong and kept the country on track following the elections.
"Now I know how hard it can be to keep faith in the democratic system when your preferred candidate or party loses an election. I have won elections and lost elections, and I know that boycotting or obstructing is no way to advance an agenda or solve a problem; it's only a recipe for gridlock and conflict," the U.S. Secretary of State said.
Her comments were in direct reference to the boycott of the second round of the 2011 presidential elections, when the main opposition party, which had placed second in the first round, opted to stay away from the process.
Senegal, a country described by many as the most important democratic partner to the U.S. in French-speaking West Africa, was Clinton's first stop by design. She also visited South Sudan, where the Obama Administration is worried about a war with Sudan or a prolonged economic decline.
Secretary Clinton was also scheduled to visit Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Malawi, Nigeria and Benin, and then travel to Ghana to attend the funeral of the fallen Ghanaian President, John Atta Mills, before returning home.