Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is off to the United States and Belgium, a round of visit that would see her arrive back in Liberia only on March 13.
It is her second visit since the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia in March 2014. Her first travel out of the country was in Conakry, Guinea for an extraordinary summit of the Mano River Union in on February 15, 2015.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader, who departed the country via the James Spriggs Payne Airport on Saturday, February 21, makes a brief stop-over in the Emirate of Sharjah, one of the states of the United Arab Emirates UAE), to share her experience in Crisis Management at the International Government Communication Forum there.
She is expected to meet President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, D.C. on 27, 2015.
President Sirleaf’s visit comes at a time of critical cooperation between Liberia and the United States of America and also following President Obama’s announcement last week that the United States is moving to the next phase of its Ebola response which will be characterized by intensive efforts to reach zero Ebola case in West Africa.
The White House has already issued an official statement announcing that President Obama was looking forward to building on a strong and historic partnership with Liberia and discussing a range of topics with President Sirleaf, including the ongoing Ebola response, the region’s economic recovery plans, and other issues of mutual interest.
While in the United States, the Liberian leader is expected to also meet with the administration officials, Congressional leaders and other stakeholders and give a speech at an event hosted by Democratic Senator Chris Coons and the U.S. Institute of Peace on February 26, 2015.
President Sirleaf will then travel to Brussels, Belgium to participate in an Ebola Conference organized by the European Union (EU). The conference will bring together the three most affected Mano River Union countries and will see the Liberian President perform the role of Spokesperson for the three countries.
The Brussels Conference, which is not a pledging conference, seeks to enable the affected countries share their experiences and post Ebola thoughts/plans and help aid the EU and other bilateral and multilateral organizations plan better for the post-Ebola period.
From Brussels, the Liberian leader returns to the United States, where she will participate in the 20th anniversary celebration of the Beijing Platform for Action at the UN Headquarters in New York.
President Sirleaf is accompanied to the U.S. by Legal Advisor, Cllr. Seward Cooper; Finance and Development Planning Minister Amara Konneh; Information Minister Lewis G. Brown; Presidential Press Secretary Jerolinmek Piah; LBS Director General Ledgerhood Rennie; Executive Assistant Euphemia Brewer-Fasama, among others.
She will also be accompanied to Brussels by Montserrado County Representative Saah Joseph; Youth Advisor, Dr. Emmanuel Dolo; Assistant Health Minister for Preventive and Curative Services, Tolbert Nyenswah, Head of the Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU), Dr. Clarence Moniba and his Deputy Amos Seibo, among others.
While President Sirleaf is away, Defense Minister Brownie Samukai will chair the Cabinet in consultation with Vice President, Joseph Nyumah Boakai. President Sirleaf is expected to return home on March 13, 2015.