26 November Press Brief

Monday, 26th November 2007
Greetings:
  • President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf left the country Sunday for an official visit to Sweden. The Presidentís two-day visit comes at the invitation of the Swedish Government. During the visit, the President will hold bilateral talks with Senior Swedish government officials, including His Majesty, the King of Sweden, at the Royal Palace; the Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, the Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Per Westerberg, among others.
As a result of the Presidentís visit and given the steady but remarkable progress taking place in the country, Sweden is expected to place Liberia on the list of Preferred Countries. The move will restore our bilateral relations with this very important European country Sweden.

While in Sweden, the President will explore technical and direct financial support for the rebuilding of key Liberian national institutions, principally in areas in which Sweden is known to have international competitive advantage (mining, forestry, infrastructure) and to which Sweden is philosophically committed globally (governance and security, aid and debt management, and gender development). Liberia and Sweden are expected to sign a Technical Cooperation Agreement in a number of the areas mentioned.

Liberia and Sweden have enjoyed longstanding mutually beneficial relations for many years, dating back to 1959, when the two countries established full diplomatic relations and the exchanged Ambassadors in their respective capitals. The unique character of the relations between Sweden and Liberia, led to the establishment of the LAMCO Joint Venture in 1953. LAMCO with branches in Yekepa, Nimba County and Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, respectively, was a major boost to the economy and provided job opportunities for thousands of Liberians.   

In 1962, a Technical Cooperation Agreement was signed that provided scholarships, seminars, and training programs for qualified Liberians in areas of Health, Commerce, Mining, Agriculture, and Hydro-Power general.  During the crisis, Sweden provided humanitarian assistance to Liberia and support for the peaceful resolution of the conflict by providing financial and human resources to the United Nations Operations in Liberia.

The Presidentís visit to Sweden will provide a unique opportunity to rekindle the close cooperation and friendship between the two countries.

During President Johnson Sirleafís absence from the country, the Cabinet will administer the Affairs of State, under the Chairmanship of Internal Affairs Minister, Ambulai Johnson, in consultation with the Vice President, Dr. Joseph Boakai.  The Presidentís delegation includes among others, the Ministers of Finance, Foreign Affairs, Gender & Development and the Managing Director the Forestry Development Authority. The delegation will return home on Wednesday.

  • President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Sunday met with aggrieved teachers of the Monrovia Consolidated School System at the MCSS Central Office in Monrovia.  At the meeting, attended by Officials of the MCSS council, Education Minister, Dr. Joseph Korto, Representative Edward Forh, the President urged the teachers to return to their class rooms and resume work, while the authorities look into their grievances. The President reiterated governmentís determination to address the problems confronting teachers through a comprehensive approach. The Liberian leader made a personal appeal to the teachers to return to classes, while government looked into their grievances. She however, cautioned against the issuance of ultimatums by aggrieved workers. This government, the President told the teachers during the meeting, will not accept ultimatums.  ďWhen you issue ultimatums, you undermine the process of dialogue,Ē the President reminded the MCSS teachers, noting that government will continue to encourage dialogue.
The 10-month salary arrears being requested by the teachers, the President said, were not accumulated by this government; nevertheless, government was making all efforts to clear the areas in keeping with budgetary allocations.  Accumulated arrears inherited by government amount to more than 26-million dollars, covering various sectors of government.

As a result of the Presidentís appeal, the teachers have been meeting with their membership; and it is our understanding that they have accepted the Presidentís appeal to return to the class rooms.