US-Liberia Partnership Dialogue Continues in Monrovia

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The opening session of the Second Substantive Meeting of the U.S-Liberia Partnership Dialogue convened this morning at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia, Liberia,

between a delegation representing the United States of America and a delegation representing the Republic of Liberia.

Delivering the opening remarks at the second dialogue, the head of the Liberian Delegation, Foreign Minister Augustine K. Ngafuan, highlighted the importance of the U.S-Liberia bilateral relationship and outlined numerous initiatives that have consolidated Liberia’s democracy and promoted development in several sectors. Min. Ngafuan expressed special gratitude on behave of Liberia to the government and people of the United States of America for support in revitalizing the agriculture, education, power and security sectors in addition to infrastructural development. He said Liberians would be glad (at the end of the second dialogue taking place today) to witness the launch signing of the Power Africa Initiative between the two countries, an initiative that seeks to address Liberia’s need for greater access to power as an avenue for sustainable economic growth and development.

Speaking for the United States delegation during the opening session, Ambassador Thomas A. Shannon, Jr. thanked the people of Liberia for hospitality and warm welcome and said he was glad that the second round of the partnership dialogue was happening in Monrovia instead of Washington D.C. According to Amb. Shannon, holding these meetings here provides them “first-had” opportunity to see and hear the challenges Liberians face. He mentioned in his opening remarks that he was upbeat over the fact that for the first time in these discussions a Human Development Working Group will be convened. “Human development is about improving people’s quality of life, and it touches on a wide range of issues, from health care to education to employment opportunities.  The first Human Development Working Group meeting will focus on education, and I think this was a very good decision. Rebuilding Liberia’s education system after more than a decade of civil war is critical to ensuring that new generations learn the skills necessary to lead productive lives, support their families, and grow Liberia’s economy.” Amb. Shannon stressed.

The Second Substantive Meeting of the U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue in Monrovia is a follow-up meeting to the dialogue in January 2013 in Washington D.C. which led to the signing of the landmark Statement of Intent by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. The Partnership Dialogue serves as a framework for greater strategic cooperation between the United States of America and the Republic of Liberia with the aim of deepening the special historical relationship between the two countries. The Dialogue also seeks to promote diplomatic and economic cooperation between Liberia and the United States by engendering a flexible, non-binding mechanism to ensure sustained and high level engagement on issues of mutual interest.

The United States Government is represented by a delegation of 22 high level officials, including U.S. Ambassador to Liberia Deborah Malac, John Mark Winfield (USAID Mission Director), Brannon Brewer (Peace Corps Country Director) and head of delegation Amb. Shannon. Liberia is represented by a strong delegation of Cabinet members which includes Liberia’s Ambassador to the United States of America Hon. Jeremiah Sulunteh, Education Minister Madam Edmonia Tarpeh, Information Minister Lewis Brown, Youth and Sports Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe, Lands-Mines Minister Patrick Sendolo, President of the University of Liberia Dr. Emmet Dennis, Agriculture Minister Madam Florence Chenoweth and head of the Liberian delegation Hon. Augustine K. Ngafuan.