President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says Liberia remains grateful to the Government and people of Canada for contributing to peace and stability in the country
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader made the remarks during a dinner hosted in honor of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and delegation last night in the C. Cecil Dennis, Jr. Auditorium at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “We are highly pleased that you have selected Liberia as the entry point of your first visit to Africa since your election as Prime Minister of Canada and we are delighted by your courage and foresight demonstrated in your decision to reengage with Africa,” he told the Right Honorable Canadian Head of Government.
President Sirleaf said - Liberia and Canada have enjoyed long history of cordial relations and friendship and have collaborated closely together in the United Nations and other international forums based on our shared values for international peace and human dignity. She acknowledged Canada’s support to the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Liberia and the Liberia Peacebuilding Architecture as well as its instrumentality in providing critical support through multilateral and regional institutions.
She praised Canada for accepting to resettle Liberian refugees as a result of the civil war; some of whom have acquired Canadian citizenship and pointed out that there is a Liberian Diaspora Community in Canada. President Sirleaf said the Prime Minister’s visit came at a more opportune time to reset relations between our two countries. She recalled the steady progress the country was making on the road to recovery from a most destructive civil war of 14 years, with respectable growth rate of 9% when the global financial crisis of 2008 slammed the breaks on economic growth. She said the country went through one of the darkest periods in its history with the onslaught of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease in which more than 4000 of our citizens perished.
“Let me here acknowledge, with deep appreciation, over US$100 million support provided in the areas of health, security and humanitarian interventions to countries in West Africa affected by the Ebola crisis. The disease brought our economy to the brink of total collapse. We were still struggling with the negative impact of Ebola when prices of our major products, rubber and iron ore went into free fall” – President Sirleaf noted.
She then expressed the hope that the Prime Minister’s visit would reignite closer cooperation and open the door to Canadian investment and engagement in the development of the country’s private sector.
Speaking on behalf of the women of Liberia, President Sirleaf they are particularly pleased to hear that the many titles that you hold - teacher, advocate and champion of children and youth, include avowed feminist. “You are a prominent “He for She, demonstrating every day that there is no incompatibility between manhood and women rights. You have demonstrated your commitment and determination to drive the feminist agenda since your arrival this morning” she underscored.
Said president Sirleaf: “There is no greater love for youth than the demonstration of exemplary leadership shown today by playing kickball with the young girls in Slipway Community. I want to thank you for your passionate concern for the future of children and youth of the world. Your visit to Liberia will leave lasting memories and indelible imprint”.
Earlier, she saluted the distinguished presence of Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, Ms. Zinab Hawa Bangura, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict; Ms. Mahawa Kaba Wheeler, Director for Women, Gender and Development of the African Union and Ms. Geraldine Joslyn Fraser-Moleketi, Special Envoy on Gender of the African Development Bank.
Responding, the Canadian Prime Minister described President Sirleaf “as a “fearless leader and a true Iron Lady.” He commended the government and people of Liberia for the warm reception accorded him and his delegation since their arrival. He congratulated President Sirleaf for her extraordinary leadership that has triggered women’s participation around the world.
Paramount Chief Jerbo of Maryland County thanked Prime Minister Trudeau for his immense contribution to the people of Liberia, especially towards the empowerment of women and girls empowerment.
The dinner was attended by senior government officials including the Speaker of the House of the Representatives J. Emmanuel Nuquay members of the National Legislature, members of the diplomatic corps, among others