President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has extolled the Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for its continued assistance towards Liberia’s recovery program especially China’s critical role during the Ebola crisis.
An Executive Mansion release said President Sirleaf made the remarks during bilateral talks with the visiting Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi and delegation at her Foreign Ministry office on Sunday, August 9, 2015.
The Chinese Foreign Minister is in West Africa visiting the three countries worse affected by the Ebola virus disease. Mr. Yi, who’s concluding a two-day visit to Liberia, arrived here late Saturday, August 8, from Sierra Leone. He departs Liberia for Guinea on the last leg of his tour late Sunday, August 9, 2015.
Mrs. Sirleaf said her administration took on the huge task of rebuilding institutions, systems, establishing relationship, putting the economy back on its feet and servicing debt after the country was plagued by over a decade of conflict. She noted the little gains were reversed when the Ebola virus disease struck.
President Sirleaf intimated that “with Ebola behind us, the government’s priority is a vigorous Economic Stabilization Recovery Plan (ESRP) as a post-Ebola initiative while moving forward with the Agenda for Transformation and the country’s long-term vision of 2030”.
She outlined health, agriculture, education and infrastructure as Liberia’s key areas of focus. “It is important,” President Sirleaf emphasized, “that we use our own natural resources to the advantage of the country.”
Amid ten (10) years of peace and stability, the Liberian leader noted, progress has been made in security sector reform including the training of a new army and police and praised China’s role in UNMIL as well as its support to the Armed Forces of Liberia through the provision of road construction equipment.
In the wake of no external aggression, the Liberian President said the new army could be effectively utilized in complementing government’s development agenda. She expressed the hope that China and Liberia will partner in the four priority areas, which remain essential to the country’s overall development agenda.
Responding Foreign Minister Wang Yi commended President Sirleaf for her leadership in the rebuilding of Liberia and stressed her exemplary role in leading the fight against the Ebola outbreak.
China’s foremost diplomat assured President Sirleaf of his country’s commitment in working closely with Liberia to achieve the priority areas put forward by her administration. He said the priority areas underscored were not only critical but strategic to the progress and development of Liberia. “China,” he said, “was prepared to assist in the training of human resources as well as provide technical assistance aimed at improving infrastructure.”
The Chinese Foreign Minister highlighted the need for industrialization, which he said is critical as far as Liberia’s natural resources are concerned. Shedding light of China’s historical experience in view of its long cherished legacy, Foreign Minister Wang Yi indicated that the progress made by his country can be attributed to commitment to a path of political stability and the ability to identify their strength, which he anchored on its large labor force and education; while the new phase is linked to investing in foreign countries and focusing on top notch innovations.
Meanwhile, addressing a media stakeout with journalists in the foyer of the Foreign Ministry following the bilateral talks, Liberia’s Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan and his Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed the cordial relations subsisting between both countries. They highlighted areas critical to, not only the development of Liberia, but the advancement of the strong diplomatic ties between both countries. -Press Release