26 April Press Briefing Notes

Monday, 26th April 2010

Members of the Press:

Welcome once again to another Executive Mansion Press Briefing Session.

• We want to first express the President’s delight for the signing, over the weekend, of six agreements between our country and the People’s Republic of China. The President believes the investments will help strengthen the already cordial bilateral relations between Liberia and China, and help boost the role of the private sector in the overall development of the country.  The President is particularly pleased that with the launching of the project last week, China Union’s investment has been given a boost. Besides mining, the project includes prospects for a hydro power station and social benefits.

We call on all Liberians, especially those residing in areas that would be covered by the investment, to cooperate and see the project as one that will provide far-reaching benefits for the country, particularly in the area of employment.  The project will become a transformative endeavor for Bong County and surrounding areas.  It is up to everyone to ensure that the investment -- the largest the country has entered into -- is successful.

• President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was in Conakry on Saturday to attend a one-day Summit meeting of Heads of State and Government of the Mano River Union.  The Summit, also attended by the President of Sierra Leone and the Interim Head of State of Guinea, deliberated on a number of issues of common concern and interest relating to the progress made on the revitalization and operations of the Secretariat of the Union, the drafting of a Strategic Plan prepared by the Secretariat, the financial report for fiscal year 2009, the proposed budget of 2010, and the report of the Ordinary Session of the Union Ministerial Council, held in Conakry on April 23, 2010.

The Summit expressed delight over the relative peace and stability prevailing in the Mano River Union Basin, as the well as the positive developments geared towards the return to democratic government in Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire.  The leaders accordingly expressed their support and commitment to ensuring the conduct of free and fair presidential and legislative elections in the two countries.

• The President, accompanied by Public Works Minister Samuel Kofi Woods, on Friday, April 23, inspected ongoing rehabilitation of the streets of Monrovia, being carried out by the Chinese Construction Company (CICO).  The President toured Randall, Ashmun, and Clay Streets, as well as Camp Johnson Road.  Her Excellency is pleased that the company has picked up a little more speed in its work and is also thankful to the workers for their commitment to the process.

Finally, on the recently completed HIPC audits, the President reiterates that the reports will be dealt with on the basis of the information, the analysis, and the recommendations they contain, and in keeping with the law.  The audits, the President maintains, are an important contribution to Government’s work in addressing some of the shortfalls the audits are revealing.

Thanks for the attention.