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Pres. Sirleaf, Indian Modi hold bilateral talks

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President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has held bilateral talks with the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, in New Delhi, India. A dispatch from New Delhi says both leaders met at Prime Minister Modi’s office at 9:00 p.m. (Indian time) on Friday, October 30, 2015.

During their meeting, President Sirleaf lauded the Indian Prime Minister and his government for organizing and hosting the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi and praised the long standing friendship and solidarity with the African continent and Liberia in particular.

“Your remarks at the Summit about India-Africa relations were positive, historical and highlighted India’s long standing relations with Africa. The call to target poor and developing countries to get their fair share of global allocations show the strength of India’s partnership with the rest of the world,” President Sirleaf indicated.

The Liberian leader said many of the program interventions being worked on by the Indian government will impact Africa and many poor countries around the world. She acknowledged increased trade between India and Africa and made specific reference to the engagement of two Indian companies with Liberia – Arcelor Mittal and Vendetta – in the mining sector. President Sirleaf praised the companies for choosing Liberia as a country for investment and admitted that they are currently undergoing difficulties due to the fall in the price of iron ore on the global market.

She also used the opportunity to thank India for helping Liberia during the devastating Ebola crisis. On other developmental issues specific to Liberia, President Sirleaf thanked India for the continuous availability of the Indian Exim Bank’s US$144 million line of credit targeted at building the transmission and distribution infrastructure for the supply of electricity to the country upon the completion of ongoing work on the Mount Coffee hydro power plant.

On current infrastructure works including road reconstruction across the country, the Liberian President briefed Indian Prime Minister Modi on efforts to rebuild the Gbarnga to Menicorma highway and requested India’s consideration to assist the project, as well as his government’s support to revamping and strengthening the country’s healthcare system.

President Sirleaf thanked Prime Minister Modi and the Indian Government for the many scholarships provided Liberian students to study in his country and the deployment of female police officers to the operations of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). “The deployment of the female unit has motivated Liberian women about the security sector,” she noted; emphasizing that more support was needed for the security sector considering the current drawdown process of UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia.

She acknowledged India’s success in the agriculture sector that has made the country self-sufficient in food production and food security and expressed the hope that Liberia can benefit from India’s technical and other support in helping the country’s food security effort.

On the international scene, the Liberian President indicated that the current migration crisis faced by many of the continent’s traditional partners in Europe will affect development assistance and suggested that investment initiatives was a way to remedy the impact.

She also indicated that India’s partnership with the continent and Liberia must be mutual and based on shared values. “I hope West Africa will have the opportunity to welcome you soon to the region, particularly in Liberia,” she urged.

For his part, Prime Minister Modi welcomed President Sirleaf and delegation to express joy that the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit was a resounding success. He thanked the Liberian President for her role and participation.

He recalled the 2013 State Visit of the Liberian leader to India and expressed happiness for having her back again and renewed his birthday felicitation to her. He indicated that the election of President Sirleaf as the continent and Liberia’s first democratically elected President makes her a role model of all countries on the African continent.

“The issues you have raised are very essential and important and my government will give keen attention to them to enable Liberia move forward with its development goals. I want to assure you that we will follow-up on all the concerns, requests and issues to their logical conclusion,” the Indian Prime Minister promised President Sirleaf.

Prime Minister Modi said his country was proud of its tremendous contributions to international peacekeeping and particularly its involvement with peacekeeping in Liberia through the first ever female police unit and stands ready to do whatever it can to keep helping the peace efforts.

He also emphasized that the building of infrastructures is important for development and pointed out that energy was particularly very essential for the enhancement of development objectives.
Prime Minister Modi stressed that Africa is an old friend to India and sees the current engagement as a duty to the African people; indicating that the engagement goes far beyond partnership.
Both leaders also discussed international issues such as the current migration crisis in Europe, international terrorism which they described as the biggest threat facing humanity today and urged the world to come strongly together to confront it.-Press Release


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