New Democrat (Monrovia)

7 January 2013

Liberia: Ellen Toughens

Declaring that 2013 will be challenging, President Ellen Johnson has informed foreign partners that her government will take "strong decisions" this year likely to affect some of their entities operating in the country.

Without naming particular entities, the President, however, said the decision would be taken in the spirit of transforming the country for the remaining part of her term.

Speaking at an annual New Year program with foreign partners, President Sirleaf said: "With that transformation, we have some very bold, strong decisions."

She warned that decisions would be taken "to depart from the past. And we know that it will affect some of your entities that are operating here."

Over the past years, she said, Liberia has relied on external resources for its transformation, but noted that this has to change.

"Because, for too long, we have relied on external sources in terms of human and financial resources and we have left our own resources undeveloped--that has to change," she repeated.

President Sirleaf admonished them "to be strong partners because we believe in the mutuality of respect and benefits."

She said whatever her government does is not to engage in exclusion or undermine competition, but one to enable "us as a nation and people and individual Liberians to become more competitive in an environment in which there is equal opportunity for all."

The president thanked them for being helpful in working with government agencies to ensure the transformation of the country in a positive direction in 2012, which she said was a difficult year.

"We now have the challenge in 2013 to move ahead with that which we really want to see--the transformation of the Liberian society.

But the during year she said her government concluded its important process of completing the long-term development agenda--the 2130 Vision, the agenda for transformation, and the reconciliation road map.

Earlier, Guinea's Ambassador to Liberia, Abdoulaye Dole, spoke on behalf of the partners, recalling efforts President Sirleaf continues to display in transforming the country.

Mr. Dole mentioned electricity, road, security, and free speech as some of the achievements of Mrs. Sirleaf since she became president in 2006.

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