According to an Executive mansion release, the Liberian leader was speaking at the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia during celebration marking the 241st anniversary of the independence of the United States of America. She said over the years the celebration has afforded her the opportunity to reflect on our longstanding historical ties.
President Sirleaf said that indeed both nations have much in common; noting: “In early nationhood, we both experienced violent internal conflicts that engendered a societal chasm which, in some measure lingers even today. The wounds of that period have shaped the attitudes and values of the body polity of our respective nations for successive generations”. She recalled that in 1862, the United States recognized Liberia’s independence and added that even before the formal recognition, the settler population had already decided, by virtue of their experience, to pursue the ideals of freedom, human dignity, justice and equality which had been denied them.
President Sirleaf described the relationship between our two countries is checkered and interspersed with the good and the bad from the investment and the experience of Firestone, the Maritime Program, National Iron Ore Company, LAMCO, several special arrangements and programs of financial management and technical assistance. She underscored that “Over the years, we successfully weathered the storm of that historical relationship”.
She expressed gratitude that the ties that bind us have grown in scope and magnitude, and we continue to explore new avenues for common pursuit of peace, security and development. “After more than two and half centuries of existence, the people of the United States remain true to those principles and values which inspired its independence struggle – freedom, liberty and justice. These values have built a strong nation and vibrant people, whose influence is felt across the globe,” she observed.
The Liberian leader said together, both our countries have continued to take measures to build on the foundation of our historic relations, establishing mechanisms for consultations that bring mutual benefit to our two peoples. She then highlighted the US-Liberia Partnership Dialogue; a forum which allows for exchange of views and the forging of a common front to address our development priorities. She however noted that the 3rd edition of this dialogue was held last May in Washington, D.C., we commend you, Madam Ambassador, for initiative you have taken personally to ensure effective follow-up of our deliberations.
President Sirleaf said “As the UN Mission in Liberia (UNIMIL) has officially handed over security responsibility to the Government of Liberia, we express appreciation to the United States for its contribution to maintaining the peacekeeping force on our soil. We are especially grateful for the reorganization and training provided by the United States to the Armed Forces of Liberia which has now been transformed into a modern professional army”.
She said despite the existing challenges, our government can celebrate the significant accomplishments in the last eleven years in all spheres of the life of our country – in economic and social infrastructure, agriculture. “As I travel across the country meeting everyday people, the most important gain for which all Liberians expressed gratefulness, is the uninterrupted peace and stability our nation continues to enjoy. This reminds us that it was the United States, through President George Bush, that led the effort in 2003 to change the course of our nation,” she underscored.
She then on behalf of the Government and people of Liberia, and in my own name, conveyed personal sentiments and best wishes to President Donald J. Trump, the Government and people of the United States of America. She highlighted the visit to Liberia of Dr. Thomas Price, U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services, in May, 2017, which she described as the first high profile visit of an official of the current Administration; adding it was a demonstration of the Administration’s commitment to building on the gains our two countries have made together, particularly in the health sector.
President Sirleaf said that as Liberians approach elections on October 10, we must once again decide the destiny of this nation. She reaffirmed the government’s strong and unwavering commitment to the democratic process and to free, fair and peaceful elections. She acknowledged the ongoing support of the United States in this endeavor, called on all partners to join our efforts to ensure that the fourteen years of investment in peace and stability in Liberia is secured. “This will result in a transparent electoral process with results acceptable to all,” she concluded.
Earlier, U S Ambassador Christian Elder noted that US-Liberia relationship remains strong, stressing that the commitment of her government’s relationship is deep while the mutual goals remain clear. She said the US’s focus has allowed both countries to make great strides in terms of cooperation, development, and security.
She noted that the United States Government has been pleased to lend helping hand as Liberia advances professionalizing the Armed Forces of Liberia and the Liberia National Police. She said Liberia is ready to move to the next level and assured that UN Agencies, the United States, as well as international partners will continue to support Liberia’s development efforts.