Visiting Indian Minister of State and Liberian President Hold Bilateral Talks

Thursday, 17th September 2009
President Ellen Sirleaf discusses a number of issues with India's visiting External Affairs Minister, Dr. Shashi Tharoor.
President Ellen Sirleaf discusses a number of issues with India's visiting External Affairs Minister, Dr. Shashi Tharoor.
Photo Credit: Ousman Diallo/Executive Mansion
Monrovia, Liberia - The visiting Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, Dr. Shashi Tharoor, has held bilateral talks with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, pledging  his Government’s support to Liberia’s development program.

During the talks, the Indian official announced that his Ggovernment would provide 25 buses to aid Liberia’s public transport sector. Dr. Tharoor also announced that 96, 600 metric tons of rice has been allocated for Liberia by the Indian Government. India, he said, had planned to allocate more rice for Liberia, but could not do so due to unfavorable weather which adversely affected harvest levels in India.

Dr. Tharoor also spoke of his Government’s preparedness to offer police training to some Liberian police officers. Liberia, he said, should recommend training areas which would be more desirable for the country.

The Government of India, the Minister of State for External Affairs said, is also prepared to set up an Information Technology Center in Liberia at no cost to the Liberian Government.  What will be required of the Liberian Government is the provision of a location for the Center.  

Dr. Tharoor has meanwhile solicited Liberia’s support in India’s candidacy to become a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council next year. He described his visit to Liberia as a landmark, his first in Africa since becoming External Affairs Minister of India.

President Johnson Sirleaf, in response, acknowledged the progress India has made in its agricultural sector. The President indicated that India’s experience in the sector would be an invaluable asset for Liberia’s agricultural program, calling for stronger collaboration between the two countries.

The Liberian leader, stressing the importance Government attaches to its educational program, appealed to the Indian Government for an exchange between teachers and doctors of both countries. The President stressed the need for a private-public partnership in the transport sector and lauded India for its decision to donate 25 buses to Liberia. The Liberian leader assured Dr. Tharoor that her Government will support the United States and India in the fight against terrorism through the United Nations.

Speaking on sub-regional issues, the President described as volatile the Manor River region. On the situation in neighboring Guinea, the Mano River Union Chair maintained that a policy of constructive engagement must be encouraged, reiterating her belief that restrictions, not sanctions, could help the prevailing political situation in that country.

Dr. Tharoor leaves Liberia Saturday following talks with other senior Liberian Government officials.
Present at the bilateral meeting on September 17 were India’s Ambassador to Liberia, Madam Shamma Jain; Liberia’s Justice Minister, Christiana Tah; Agriculture Minister, Dr. Florence Chenoweth; Commerce Minister Miata Beysolow; and Minister of State, Dr. Edward McClain.