11 October 2012

Liberia: Gov't Seeks U.S. Embassy Response

Barely 24 hours after an online news magazine African Standard reported that the U.S. Government has cut off security aid to Liberia, has the Government of Liberia said it has not received an official confirmation.

Deputy Information Minister Norris Tweah told the New Dawn Wednesday the ministry has contacted the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia on the report, and was awaiting response from the embassy.

This paper also contacted the US Embassy and the Public Affairs Officer there Sally Hodgson promised to call back, but up to press time last night she had not returned the call.

Similarly, the African Standard claimed the Embassy has remained tightlipped despite making contact. However, the Standard claimed credible sources on Thursday, 4 October 2012, disclosed the U.S. withdrew arms and ammunition it had earlier supplied the Government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The arms and ammunition were reportedly used by Madam Sirleaf's elite security force - the Executive Protection Service.

Further quoting what it termed "highly placed and respected security insider" within the Johnson-Sirleaf administration, it said the U.S. has recalled its Security Advisor to the Government of Liberia and has also discontinued US$7 million military aid towards security reform here.

The U.S. Government has been a key ally of the Sirleaf's Administration, and was very instrumental in ensuring the government attains the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) completion point last year that led to the waiver of more than US$3 billion foreign debt.

The U.S. State department spearheaded the training of the first batch of 2,000 strong men and women for the restructured Armed Forces of Liberia.

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