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Leaders seek debt waiver for Ebola states

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The New Dawn Liberia The New Dawn LiberiaTwo visiting African Presidents to Liberia, Mr. Thomas Yayi Boni of Benin and Niger’s Mahamadou Issoufou are calling for cancellation of debts of worse affected Ebola countries, including Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

In separate remarks recently, President Yayi Boni, who is also former President of the West African Development Bank, promised his country’s support in the advocacy for the cancellation of debts of worse Ebola affected countries.

The Beninois leader gave the assurance when he and his counterpart of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, paid a one-day solidarity visit to Liberia on Wednesday, January 7, 2015.

During a meeting with Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf at the VIP lounge of the Roberts International Airport in Margibi County, Mr. Yayi Bonin said with all the human and economic losses that Liberia has suffered; Benin has taken the decision to join other countries to support Liberia in the areas of technical and financial assistance.

He assured President Sirleaf that Benin will continuously engage ECOWAS, AU, and the international community in the ongoing Ebola fight.

“Benin will always show solidarity with Liberia and support the Government of President Sirleaf to ensure that she succeeds,” he promised, adding, that this message is not only conveyed to the Liberian leader but to all Liberians, including politicians because the fight against Ebola is not a political issue.

“If this country wants democratic and political stability and prosperity, all Liberians must join hands together,” he urged.

For his part, President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger conveyed on behalf of the Nigerien Government and people’s sentiments, considering that Liberia has been undergoing a painful period in its history.

He said that their presence in the country should show to the whole world that it is possible to come to and be with the people of Liberia.

Mr. Issoufou said ECOWAS countries of which Benin, Niger and Liberia are members have taken a number of measures and made contributions to the Ebola fight.

President Issoufou however hoped that in the future Niger is prepared to be a part of whatever assistance that is brought to Liberia, including human, economic or whatever because what Liberia has undergone cannot be over-emphasized.

He joined President Yayi Boni to call on the international community to cancel Liberia’s debts. “We are also calling on the international community to cancel the debts of countries worse affected by Ebola. It is important to support these countries during their period of difficulty,” he said.

He also used the opportunity to call on investors to return to the country because the situation is improving now.

The Nigerien President commended the efforts of President Sirleaf for her courage and strength in tackling the disease which has now put the virus on the run.

Earlier, President Sirleaf said the visit of the two presidents has further deepened the support and feeling of solidarity that Benin and Niger have for Liberia.

The Liberian President said though they were just visiting the country since the Ebola crisis, she was certain that they have been with Liberia in spirit.

“You have been with us through messages, telephone calls, through the meetings of ECOWAS that have provided the support and encouragement. So we feel that this meeting just deepens that particular support and the feeling of solidarity which you have for us,” she said.

Meanwhile, the two visiting presidents conveyed compliments of the season to the Liberian leader, the Government and people of Liberia, expressing wishes that in the coming months “we will no more” talk of Ebola, but rather prosperity.

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