Swedish Development Minister Visits Pres. Sirleaf

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(MONROVIA, LIBERIA – Tuesday, February 17, 2015) President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has commended the Swedish Government for its continued assistance to Liberia.

According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader made the commendation at her Foreign Ministry office in Monrovia when she met the Swedish Minister of International Development Cooperation, Ms. Isabella Lovin, accompanied by the Swedish Ambassador accredited to Liberia, Sofia Strand and a four-member delegation.

Speaking further, President Sirleaf thanked the Swedes for their support to the country during a very difficult period in Liberia’s history. She said her country was faced with lack of capacity and knowledge of the Ebola Virus Disease that had struck the country.

The President recounted Liberia’s relations with Sweden dating to the 50s when a Swedes-owned company entered an iron ore Joint Venture Partnership and operated LAMCO.

The Liberian leader praised the resilience of the Liberian people and said the virus has been contained but is not eradicated. To date, she noted 24 cases are being monitored. While highlighting the initial enormous challenges faced, she asserted that considerable progress has been made and termed as constructive community ownership in the fight against Ebola that propelled the dramatic level of progress brought to bear.

President Sirleaf said the country’s harsh experiences coupled with the vulnerability of the country’s health care system has not positioned the country to work along with development partners to address the question of access to efficient health care delivery, backed by accessible roads – need for overhauling the education – access to safe-drinking water as well as critical cross-cutting issues intended to enhance the country overall development agenda. She paid homage to the Swedish for supporting ongoing feeder roads projects in Bong, Nimba and Lofa counties with a view to trail-blazing agriculture.

Commenting on the porosity of borders between the affected countries, President stressed the need to set up viable and equipped heath care structures that would readily address post-Ebola related cases and also underscored training and improved logistical commitments. She however pointed out the need for women’s involvement in food security and processing.

President Sirleaf indicated that Liberia’s economic recovery was seriously affected due to the outbreak, growth rate declined, major infrastructure projects in roads and electricity stalled, and water restoration hampered. So far, 3000 Liberians have been orphaned due to the epidemic.

On women’s issues, President Sirleaf said the imperative is to support Affirmative Action that would garner the much needed international solidarity and intervention for women in the governance process of the country. Regarding reconciliation, President Sirleaf informed the Swedes that the Independent National Human Rights Commission (INHRC), the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Governance Commission (GC) were at the forefront of the Palava Hut Strategy as recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Report (TRC).

For her part, Ms. Isabella Lovin expressed on behalf of the Swedish people her condolence and acknowledged the sacrifices Liberia made in the fight against Ebola. Minister Lovin said her country recognized the difficulties brought about as a result of the outbreak. She said Sweden remains committed to the New Impact approach, which emphasizes mutual cooperation, respect and partnership.

Ms. Lovin said her country looks forward to collaborating with in the areas of Peace-building, advancing women’s role, participation and access in the governance process.

The Swedish International Development & Cooperation Minister said her government would be interested in Liberia Reconciliation Roadmap towards sustainable peace, security and development.