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Pres. Sirleaf praises US efforts in Ebola fight

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President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has acknowledged the critical role being play by the U.S. Government and the personal role of US Senator Chris Coon in Liberia’s Ebola fight during the latter’s recent visit here.

“The U.S. support came at a very difficult time when the Ebola virus was raging and served as an encouragement to Liberians as we fought the disease,” Mrs. Sirleaf told the US congressman during a courtesy call on her.

Senator Koon chairs the Foreign Relations Committee on African Affairs in the U.S. Congress. The US has deployed over 3000 troops here to help contain the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, which infection rate has dropped significantly.

During their Meeting President Sirleaf  informed Senator Coon that Government has targeted a number of priority interventions to ensure that Ebola is totally eradicated from not just Liberia, but the affected region.

She thanked U.S. institutions for their partnership in the fight against Ebola and noted that the capacity of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) has also improved due to the partnership. “We are keen on doing whatever we can to help the other two countries make considerable progress in their fight against Ebola. In all of our affected meeting countries, infection control remains key even after Ebola,” she stressed.

She assured Senator Koon that Liberia will endeavor to maintain its progress in meeting the benchmark for the MCC program despite the Ebola situation.

For his part, Senator Coon described his visit to Liberia as wonderful, productive and encouraging and pointed out that he came to show solidarity and assurance to the Liberian Government and people. “I came to see you and meet with stakeholders across the country so as to figure out what can be done together,” he reiterated.

He pointed out that the U.S. presence and intervention was not necessarily the answers to what was required to halt the spread of Ebola but raised the hope of the Liberian people that the world was ready to help and has not forgotten their country. “We recognized the role of the government, the people, communities and partners as the main factors for the success and our role is to help sustain the success”, Senator Koon indicated.

In a related development, the ECOWAS Elections Observer Mission to Liberia led by the co-president of the ECOWAS Council of the Wise, Leopold Quedraogo on Monday paid a courtesy call on President Sirleaf at her Foreign Ministry office.

President Sirleaf welcomed the delegation and thanked the President of the ECOWAS Commission for the timely response to observe the elections contrary to the standard of the sending Observer Mission only for general and presidential elections.

She described the Special Senatorial Elections as extraordinary due to the many issues that accompanied the process ranging from the Ebola virus, to legal actions, among others.

The Liberian leader expressed concern about the reported low turn-out and urged Liberians and its partners to work harder to encourage people to develop the passion to exercise their democratic rights and franchise at all times.

Also speaking, Mr. Quedraogo briefed President Sirleaf about the activities of the ECOWAS Elections Observer Mission and thanked her for the opportunity to have been a part of an important process. He described the Special Senatorial Elections as calm, peaceful, free, fair and transparent and thanked Liberians for their participation.

He frowned on the low turn-out and suggested that the National Elections Commission do much more for civic education and that government provide adequate logistical support to the commission future electoral events.

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