President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has received in audience a Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of India, His Excellency G. M. Siddeshwara – also Minister of State, Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises of India.
An Executive Mansion release said the President met with him during a courtesy call at her temporary office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs last Friday, September 11, 2015. In his remarks, Minister Siddeshwara informed President Sirleaf that he was in the country to deliver a special message from Prime Minister Narenda Modi on Liberia-India relations and to also deliver a Special Invitation for the Liberian leader to attend the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit to be held in New Delhi, India on October 29, 2015.
The India-Africa Forum Summit serves as a platform to deliberate on the latest developments in India-Africa Cooperation and chart out the future course of common efforts to enhance South-South Cooperation. According to the Executive Mansion release, the 1st India-Africa Forum Summit was held in New Delhi in 2008, while the 2nd Summit took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2011. The 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit will be preceded by a meeting of Foreign Ministers of Africa and India, as well as the preparatory meeting of senior officials of Africa and India.
The Special Envoy is quoted as expressing delight about his visit to Liberia and thanked President Sirleaf for Liberia’s cooperation and collaboration with India. He extolled the excellent relations between the two countries spanning several decades now. He also expressed satisfaction that the Liberian President, as a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, also received the Indira Gandhi Prize from India.
Minister Siddeshwara acknowledged the presence of a large India community in Liberia, helping to expand economic relations, noting that Prime Minister Modi was excited to meet the Liberia leader in India. He pointed out that a bilateral meeting will take place on the margins of the summit to cement and consolidate India-Liberia relations.
For her part, President Sirleaf thanked the Envoy for the visit and the Special Message from Indian Prime Minister Modi. She also acknowledged the long standing excellent relations between Liberia and India citing both countries’ participation in the G-77, India’s contribution to the transport sector and the large Indian business community in Liberia.
The Liberian President indicated that India’s assistance will be crucial in the health and educational sectors as well as in industrialization for value addition to the country’s vast natural resources and the development of an industrial park for the country. Support to the Government’s infrastructural program was also sought.
President Sirleaf also thanked Prime Minister Modi, through his Special Envoy, for India’s support to Liberia during the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease which killed many and nearly destroyed the country’s economy.
Special Envoy Siddeshwara was accompanied to the office of the President by India’s Honorary Counsel Upjit Singh Sachdeva and India’s Ambassador accredited to Liberia, His Excellency, Dinesh Bhatia. -Press Release