14 January 2013

Liberia: Sirleaf Off to Washington DC

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf left the country Sunday for Washington, D.C., where she is expected tol sign a Statement of Intent establishing a Partnership Dialogue between the United States and Liberia, thereby institutionalizing the relationship between the two countries. Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton will sign on behalf of the United States Government.

A release issued by the Executive mansion Sunday said, the US-Liberia Partnership Dialogue will provide the platform for regular consultations between the two governments, and promote diplomatic and economic cooperation by providing a mechanism to ensure sustained, high-level, bilateral engagement on issues of mutual interest.

The forum's three Working Groups will address issues that are critical to Liberia's stability and socio-economic development in the areas of agriculture and food security, energy and power infrastructure, and human development.

The idea for a strengthened partnership with the United States was first proposed by President Sirleaf when she visited the United States last June. Secretary Clinton, on that occasion, had assured the President that she would work to make it a reality.

Among those accompanying President Sirleaf on this very brief visit to the United States is her Legal Advisor, Cllr. Seward Cooper. The Liberian delegation at the signing ceremony will include Liberia's Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Jeremiah Sulunteh, and other Embassy officials.

While President Sirleaf is away from the country, the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, her absence, Dr. Edward B. McClain, Jr., will serve as Chair of the Cabinet in consultation with Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, Sr. President Sirleaf is expected back home on Wednesday, January 16.

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