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U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue Closing Remarks


Remarks
Wendy Sherman
Under Secretary for Political Affairs 
United States Institute of Peace (USIP)
Washington, DC
May 7, 2013

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I want to thank you, Minister Ngafuan, for sharing your reflections on the U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue, they were indeed very eloquent.

I also as you did want to recognize the hard work of the U.S. Institute of Peace staff, of course its leader Congressman Jim Marshall, our Liberian colleagues, and my U.S. Government colleagues, including those in the State Department’s Africa Bureau, in making the inaugural session such a success.

Throughout today, as I understand from talking briefly to the Minister and with our staff, we have advanced the U.S.-Liberia bilateral relationship -- a relationship already deeply rooted not only in our historical ties, but our shared commitment to democracy, human rights, and economic advancement.

This joint statement that Minister Ngafuan and I just signed affirms our commitment to work together to address the challenges Liberia currently faces in its agriculture and energy sectors, and acknowledges their importance to Liberia’s overall economic development.

We have committed to hold the next session of the U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue in Monrovia, Liberia within the next year. At that session we plan to convene the first meeting of the Human Development Working Group.

The high-level participation from both our governments demonstrates the significance of the U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue to our bilateral relationship, and the importance of the sectors that were discussed today in the working groups.

In the Agriculture and Food Security Working Group, for example, colleagues discussed policy and institutional constraints to private sector-led development of Liberia’s agriculture sector, and ways to address these constraints. Together, we explored opportunities to expand bilateral cooperation to increase food security and nutrition, especially under the Feed the Future Initiative.

The Energy and Power Infrastructure Working Group reviewed Liberia’s efforts to meet its growing power generation, transmission and distribution requirements. We will continue to collaborate on how we can encourage private sector investment in Liberia’s energy sector by improving regulatory policies and to accelerate the development of a well-governed and inclusive Liberian energy sector.

Though the official government-to-government portion of the U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue has come to an end, I am delighted that the Foreign Minister and the rest of the Liberian delegation will participate in a public outreach event that will discuss how the Government of Liberia and its partners plan to transform Liberia into a middle-income country through an inclusive and equitable economic development strategy. This event, open to the press and public, will further highlight the achievement made today and will allow private sector, civil society, Diaspora, and others to engage with the Government of Liberia on its plan for Liberia’s economic future. We all have a role to play in Liberia’s progress toward a growing and sustainable economy. It is clear to me that this is led by the Liberians themselves, which is as it should be, with all the rest of us in support of your vision and your destiny.

Liberia’s future is full of promise and great opportunities. Thank you all for a very successful inaugural session of the U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue and for your friendship with the United States.

We look forward very much, I in particular, to meeting again in Monrovia. I commend to you Acting Assistant Secretary Yamamoto, who is going to take my place in any question and answer that follow. I greatly appreciate all the work done today.

Thank you very much.



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