September 29 Press Brief

Monday, 29th September 2008
Monrovia, Liberia - During her recent visit to the United States of America, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf visited Brown University based in Rhode Island, USA. The President asked the leadership of the University for scholarships for Liberians as well as for the University to join the student internship program in Liberia. The President also co-hosted a meeting with Danish Prime Minister Anders Rassmussen which was geared at ensuring that all countries launch the Millenium Development Goal 3 (MDG3) which focuses on women empowerment. It can be recalled that Liberia has been chosen as a MDG3 model country by Denmark with funding of the program in the tone of 22 million United States dollars. She is also pleased to reveal that a new commitment has been made by the Nike Foundation, in collobaration with the World Bank, to have a program to train 1500 young Liberian women between the ages of 16 and 24 in skills training. The American investment group, Goldman Sachs, has also announced an intiative in which it will provide funding to train 1000 Liberian women to set up businesses. The training will be held on the campus of the Cuttington University in Bong County. The timing for the program will be decided later. The President also had bilateral talks with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on setting up diplomatic relations between Liberia and Australia. Prime Minister Rudd expressed his governmentís interest in Africa in general and Liberia in particular. The talks also centered on colloboration in the mining sector as well as providing training for Liberian doctors. President Johnson Sirleaf also had a meeting with international foundations and non-governmental organizations geared at ensuring the Liberiaís Poverty Reduction Strategy is realised.
  • The President has encouraged the Minister of National Defense to look at ways of providing training opportunities to deactivated soldiers who would like to offer skills and expertise in any way to the military. She wants it made known that the Government of Liberia has done what it can for deactivated security personnel, but will continue to operate in a sprit of openness and constructive engagement. However, President Johnson Sirleaf is deeply concerned about the actions of the newly trained AFL soldiers. She wants it made clear that a proper process will be put in place to give the recently dismissed soldiers a hearing.
  • The President is calling on the Liberia National Police to carry out a rigid inspection of container trucks plying the streets and communities. She wishes to extend her condolence to the bereaved family of the lady who lost her life in the tragic accident which occurred on Johnson Street involving a container truck. As at now, the President has not received a full report on the incident.
  •  President Johnson Sirleaf has ordered the Justice Minister to release Mr. Mulbah Morlu from detention. However, she urges Mr. Morlu and his colleagues to realize that freedom of speech comes with certain responsibilities. She has assured that her government has no intention of infringing on anybodyís rights, but stresses the need for mutual respect in the society.