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Pres. Sirleaf : New dev’t goals have African interest

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President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has told African diplomats in Tokyo, Japan that the new global development agenda being carved- Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which replaces the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will reflect the common interest of Africa.

At a breakfast meeting with the African Ambassadors ahead of her speaking engagement in Tokyo, Presidents Sirleaf assured the Ambassadors that the perspective of the African continent will be captured as reflected in the Common African Position adopted by the African Union.

“The Sustainable Development Goals, we hope, will address most of the continent’s problems.” She was said. “That is why special summits on Development Financing were held recently in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to ensure commitment and support to financing the SDGs,” Sirleaf added saying “All this will advance Africa’s Vision 2063 program launched by the African Union under the strong leadership of Madam Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma of the African Union Commission.”

The special breakfast meeting was organized by the Liberian Embassy in Japan in collaboration with the African Diplomatic Corps in Japan. At the meeting which took place at the Imperial Hotel on Thursday, August 27, Mrs. Sirleaf also thanked the African Ambassadors for honoring her with their presence and acknowledged the sizable number of women Ambassadors serving the African continent in Japan. 

She informed the African diplomats that 2014 was a tough year for the three west African countries worse affected by the deadly Ebola virus disease as they confronted an unknown enemy with no prior capacity or skills to manage such situation and recognized that the African continent took the lead and intervened before the rest of the world could act.

The Liberian Chief Executive particularly thanked the African countries that deployed their citizens to help combat the spread of the virus and commended the Kingdom of Morocco for not abandoning Liberia by refusing to suspend Royal Air Maroc flights to the country during the entire period of the Ebola crisis.

She called on the diplomats to observe a moment of silence for the over 10,000 victims that succumbed to the Ebola virus disease – nearly 50 percent of whom she said died in Liberia – as well as fellow Africans and others who died while helping.

President Sirleaf said that the many terrible predictions made by experts during the crisis brought the country together through leadership and community actions to contain the spread of the virus.  “After a re-emergence of the virus, Liberia will once more be declared Ebola free in just a few days for the second time. Guinean and Sierra Leone are also making real progress and all this will enable the three countries to resume the interrupted development and reconstruction processes. Already, there exists a Regional Recovery Plan for the three most affected countries that will drive the process,” the Liberian chief executive told the African envoys.

The Liberian leader acknowledged Japan’s effort in promoting women’s empowerment and pointed out that the World Assembly for Women is a part of Japan’s policy to allow women to shine, adding that Japan has been a strong partner to Africa.

Speaking earlier, the Ambassador of the State of Eritrea to Japan and Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps, His Excellency Mr. Estifanos Afeworki thanked President Sirleaf for meeting with the African Ambassadors in Japan and described her as an esteemed daughter of the African continent.

“We are all very proud of your successful career and the Prime Minister of Japan’s invitation to you as the Keynote Speaker for the Women’s Assembly in Tokyo is a clear testimony of your greatness” Ambassador Estifanos said.

He praised President Sirleaf as well as the leaders of Guinea and Sierra Leone for their excellent leadership that helped contain the further spread of the Ebola virus disease in the three most affected countries.  Ambassador Estifanos reiterated that social and economic change in Japan sets women’s empowerment as a key element, an example that the African continent could emulate.

Earlier, Liberia’s Ambassador to Japan, Ms. Youngor Telewoda welcomed the African diplomats to the breakfast meeting with President Sirleaf and praised them for their solidarity during the entire period of the Ebola crisis. “All of you stood with Liberia and did not stigmatize us during the Ebola crisis,” she disclosed.

She also reflected on the Liberian President’s first meeting with the African Diplomatic Corps when she visited Japan in 2012.  During an interactive discussion, many of the envoys, particularly female Ambassadors expressed admiration for President Sirleaf and her leadership. “You are a great leader both in your country and on the global stage who’s very committed to the most vulnerable segments of society – the women and children of the world,” they said, adding, “You inherited a country destroyed by war and conflict and it is amazing to know how successful you have performed,” the Ambassadors commented.

Those who honored the Liberian Embassy’s invitation at the well-attended meeting included Ambassadors from Angola, Benin, Congo Brazzaville, Cote d’Ivoire, DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, among many others. -Press Release

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