New Democrat (Monrovia)

31 October 2013

Liberia: More Consulates Opening

Photo: Liberia Government
The U.S. delegation to the Partnership Dialogue meets President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Liberians living in various parts of America will need not travel to Washington DC to obtain biometric passport as authorities have embarked on decentralizing consular services and expanding the embassy, Liberian Ambassador to United States Ambassador Jeremiah C Sulunteh has disclosed.

Speaking in an exclusive interview yesterday, Ambassador Sulunteh said already a consular office has been opened in Atlanta Georgia with several other cities expected to benefit. "What we try to do is to decentralize the services to Liberians in the US," Ambassador Sulunteh said. A mobile biometric passport unit, he said, was in sight and would provide consular services to populated Liberians in US cities.

The ambassador named Minnesota, Rhodes Island and several other cities as areas identified to benefit from the Embassy mobile services. Minnesota being one of America's largest states has a total of 22,000 Liberians residents. "It is very overwhelming to have a family of six leaving Minnesota traveling to Washington just to do a figure print of passport," the Ambassador contended. "We think that government should take the service to the people." On the issue of expansion of the embassy, Sulunteh did not mention the cost of the project but said the ongoing expansion of the embassy seeks to provide additional working space for both the passport and consular offices. He then disclosed the growing daily demand of visas, saying a total of over 1,800 visas have been issued so far in 2013. "This shows a boost to our country; that people now have interest in coming to Liberia, a country now on the verge of improved development." Commenting on the US and Liberia relations, Ambassador Sulunteh noted that relations between the two countries were strong as evidenced by the recent signing of a partnership dialogue that was initiated by President Sirleaf and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The partnership accordingly focuses on agriculture, food security, energy and infrastructure as well as human development. He intoned further that the second phase of the dialogue should shortly take place in Monrovia. He also disclosed that plans were being worked out by the government to ensure that Liberia benefits from Power Africa project announced by President Barrack Obama for African states. "The US respects our foreign policy and they are excited by our attraction we are making to bring investors to the country.

The fact that we were able to send a contingent to Mali speaks to the fact that Liberia is indeed a success story," Sulunteh said.

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