President Sirleaf Off To Europe on Visits to Brussels, Rome, and Paris

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has departed the country on official visits to Belgium, Italy and France.

According to an Executive Mansion release, the first leg of the Liberian leader’s visit takes her to Brussels, Belgium where she will attend the 4th European Union (EU) – Africa Summit. The summit, which takes place from April 2 to 3, 2014, brings together the Heads of State and Government of the EU and the African continent, together with the EU and African Union institutions.

Under the theme: “Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace” participants will discuss topics including education and training, women and youth, legal and illegal migrant flows between both continents, ways to stimulate growth and create jobs, investing in peace and ways to enhance EU support for African capacities to manage security on the continent. Previous summits took place in Cairo, Egypt (2000), Lisbon, Portugal (2007) and Tripoli, Libya (2010).

EU-Africa relations are largely based on the Joint Africa-EU Strategy, adopted in 2007. Alongside this strategy, a 2011-2013 action plan, agreed at the last EU-Africa summit in 2010, sets out concrete targets within specific areas of cooperation, such as peace and security, democratic governance and human rights.

The 2014 summit will be an opportunity to take a fresh look at the EU-Africa partnership, to highlight some of the results that have been achieved, and to explore areas for future cooperation.

While in Brussels, President Sirleaf will also hold a number of bilateral meetings.

On Thursday, April 3, President Sirleaf travels to Rome, Italy. During her stay, President Sirleaf will hold a joint working meeting with the World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director, Ertharin Cousin; Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General, José Graziano da Silva; and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) President, Kanayo Nwanze. She will later hold individual bilateral meetings with the three officials.

The Liberian leader will deliver the Keynote Address at a Special Event on the Post-2015 Development Agenda at the WFP Headquarters on Friday, April 4.

She will later meet with Italian Government officials, including Italian President, Giorgio Napolitano; President of the Senate, Pietro Grasso; President of the Chamber of Deputies, Laura Boldrini; and the Mayor of Rome, Ignazio Marino, among others.

The Liberian leader is expected to meet with former Honorary Consul Generals of Liberia, Liberian embassy staff and the Liberian community in Rome and hold bilateral meetings.

On the last leg of her European visit, President Sirleaf will attend the Global Water Awards Ceremony and deliver the Keynote Address at the Global Water Day event in Paris, France on Monday, April 7.

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