President Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf is encouraging Liberians to be patriotic, committed to being strong partners in the development of their country, and to reconciliation.
"We must seize the moment of the progress that we've made and the goodwill that we enjoy from the international community and make the most of it," she stressed, and asked, "If we don't recognize the good in and the future of our country, how do we call on others to do it?"
There are numerous problems and challenges facing the country that government must continue to address, the Liberian leader acknowledged, but noted that Liberians have come a long way in preserving the peace to which everybody has contributed. She urged all Liberians to go the next step and make the next few years ones of accelerated development.
President Sirleaf made these assertions when she addressed journalists at the end of her visit to New York, where she participated in the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
She termed her participation at this year's session as "very resulting" as she and her delegation not only participated in events related to the general debate but also had an opportunity to hold meetings with a host of colleagues, stakeholders, partners and investors.
Liberia is highly rated by the international community and by a majority of Liberians, the President observed, but noted that there may be a few who have differences. However, if one looks at the record of the progress Liberia has made since 2006, there is great respect for Liberia and great regards for Liberians because of the resilience they have shown.
I'm very pleased with the progress and credibility of our country; though there are challenges, the progress far surpasses the challenges, she said, and promised to take on the challenges.
Commenting on the highpoint of the visit, namely, her Address to the General Assembly, President Sirleaf said her speech tried to capture the progress the country has made in building institutions, infrastructure, capacity, and putting the right structures and policies in place. She had also identified challenges, including rebuilding infrastructure, creating jobs and, most especially, the fight against corruption.
"That message was not meant only for the UN audience but also for our citizens at home. I wanted them to know exactly where we are as regards the progress, challenges and the actions they can expect from us in the next few years," the Liberian leader said.
On the protest by pro- and anti-Liberian groups on the margins of the Session, President Sirleaf said that peaceful protest is a tenet of democracy. "That's their right, whether at home or abroad," she said, pointing out that those who suggest that this government is a failure may have their heads in the sand because the progress is there for everybody to see.
She pointed to recent reports on governance issued by Transparency International, the Millennium Challenge Account and the World Bank which indicate that Liberia is making progress in all spheres, including tackling corruption.