The Inquirer (Monrovia)

23 June 2014

Liberia: Energy Sector Tops Ellen, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Discussion

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and visiting United States Secretary of State for Management and Resources, Heather Higginbottom over the weekend spent time to discuss the country's most prioritized area of development in the energy sector.

During the meeting, the Liberian leader and Madam Higginbottom discussed the importance of developing Liberia's energy sector for the continued economic growth of the country. Madam Sirleaf and the US Deputy Secretary of State also discussed the recent travel of 15 Liberians who are in the United States to take part in the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, the flagship program of President Obama's Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

Liberia's energy sector was an important part of the Liberian leader and the US Deputy Secretary of State's discussion though the major issue was not disclosed to the public. On Friday, President Johnson Sirleaf received in audience the United States Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom during a courtesy call on Friday.

She arrived in Liberia June 19 for a two-day official visit on the last leg of a three-nation African tour that included stops in Senegal and Kenya.

During their meeting, President Sirleaf and Deputy Secretary Higginbottom discussed the upcoming African Leaders Summit in Washington in early August 2014, which is expected to underscore President Barack Obama's strong commitment to Africa.

Addressing a press stakeout in the Foyer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs following the meeting, Liberia's Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan said the discussion between the Liberian leader and the U.S. Deputy Secretary was "very productive".

For her part, Deputy Secretary Higginbotton, who is also here to access the U.S. Embassy's operations in Liberia, commended President Sirleaf for her leadership of the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the Common African Position (CAP). She reaffirmed that the United States welcomes the CAP, and expressed support for Africa's leadership and participation as they work together to pursue a successful Post-2015 Development Agenda.

She praised the long standing relationship between the United States and Liberia, and expressed delight of having the opportunity to see Liberia in person. "The ties between our government and our people are strong and we will continue to strengthen this partnership in the years ahead," the Deputy Secretary said.

She thanked the Government and people of Liberia for the warm reception and for taking time to give her an insight into some of the key issues facing Liberia as the country moves forward on its development agenda.

Ms. Higginbottom was confirmed as Deputy Secretary of State by the US Senate in December 2013. In her current role, she shares in the global responsibilities for US foreign policy and has broad management and programmatic oversight responsibilities for both the Department of State and the US Agency for International Development.

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