President Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf downplays the hysteria which greeted her next generation comments people like to turn low hills into mountains.
She, however, clarifies that her statement in no way [impugn] anyone who is not young. President Sirleaf in a final major address at the 72nd meeting of the United Nations General Assembly said the October elections here would pave the way for the next generation of leaders to move the country forward.
Many interpreted her comment as a direct campaign against her septuagenarian Vice President who is seeking to replace her. "There's no issue. You people turn low hills into mountains by your own interpretations. There was no ... , nothing meant to say Liberia is a young country. Many of our people are young; we will continue to have [them]. It does not in any way [impugn] anyone who is not young," Mrs. Sirleaf said Monday, 2 October in an interview upon her arrival here from the United States.
In response to what she meant by the next generation of leaders call at the U.N., Mrs. Sirleaf says "the time is now," telling journalists to look at the many ministers in her government that are all young.
Upon her return on Monday, an intercessory service was held in her honor at the Philadelphia Central Church in Congo Town, during which pastors offered series of prayers and gave thanks to God for having sailed the Sirleaf - Administration through two six years - terms and enabling her to deliver her final presidential address at the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
Concerning her trip for the past two weeks, Mrs. Sirleaf says she decided to go to the international community to express Liberia's appreciation to them, having considered that many people do not realize the things they do and the support that Liberia gets to achieve what it has achieved during her term.
According to her, she expressed thanks to the U.N. for the peace Liberia has and the many agencies the world body has here, and to also appreciate all other foundations and NGOs that many people do not know what they do here and tell them to continue to remember and support Liberia.
Also at the U.S. Congress involving both Democrats and Republicans, Mrs. Sirleaf says she expressed Liberia's gratitude for standing firm on the Liberian side and doing what was necessary even during times when its administration was not fully responding to Liberia's requests.
Having reminded the U.S. that Liberia is a place it has made a major investment, Mrs. Sirleaf says she told the Americans that it's now time to retain that investment ... , meaning that they can't stop now.
President Sirleaf says she is glad that on behalf of the nation she was able to go back to nations including Kenya and organizations that have helped Liberia to say thanks.