President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Returns Home

Saturday, 17th March 2007
Vice President Joseph Boakai welcomes President Sirleaf upon arrival.
Vice President Joseph Boakai welcomes President Sirleaf upon arrival.
Photo Credit: Adama B. Thompson/Executive Mansion
Monrovia, Liberia - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and delegation are back in the country following an official visit to a number of European countries including Spain, Japan and Belgium. The President told reporters upon arrival Friday at the Roberts International Airport, that Netherlands has been requested to consider the reconstruction of the Vai Town Bridge. The President has also requested Netherlands to lend support toward Liberiaís land reclamation and measures to help counter sea erosion in Monrovia and its environs.

Meanwhile, a mission from Spain is expected to visit the country shortly to assess the Ports of Liberia to explore the level of assistance that country can render toward the rehabilitation of the countryís Ports. Another group, the President said, would be looking at Liberiaís fishery, with the view of improving the industry.  Spain is also expected to provide scholarships for Liberians to train in hotel management. The assurances were given at a meeting between the President and the Spanish Prime Minister as well as the Development and Cooperation Minister of Spain.

All countries visited, particularly Japan, assured the President that they would join the United States and other countries at the upcoming G-8 meeting in May, to press for the cancellation of all of Liberiaís bilateral and multilateral debt, with the hope of resolving the countryís debt situation.

At the same time, Japan is to send an assessment mission to Liberia to work out modalities for the resumption of bilateral ties between the two countries, which would eventually lead to the re-establishment of diplomatic relations next year.

While in Liberia, the Japanese delegation would also explore avenues in the countryís private sector for investment opportunities.

President Johnson-Sirleaf, who also met with Japanese ship-owners, encouraged them to expand their operations by registering under the Liberian flag of the Maritime Program.

Meanwhile, the President has expressed dismay over reports that illegal sand mining is taking place under the Gabriel Tucker Bridge, linking Vai Town to central Monrovia. The President has, accordingly, directed the Ministry of Public works to move quickly to prevent the further undermining of the bridge. The Chief Executive warned those illegally occupying makeshift structures under the bridge to vacate the area or risk demolition of their structures.  

Police recently arrested some vandals who have been destroying electric wires connecting light poles on the bridge, to conceal their illegal mining activities at night. Most of those engaged in the illegal sand mining are believed to be illegal squatters under the bridge.