President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has thanked the patron and founder of the African Governance Initiative (AGI), Tony Blair, and his team, for remaining with Liberia during the Ebola crisis.
“More recently, with the difficulty we faced with Ebola, you have stuck with us. The team has not left thereby demonstrating courage and confidence in our country,” she told Blair.
Pres. Sirleaf added: “Thank you Tony for always being there, for having a team that has continued to work with us and to enable us to achieve our planning and productive goals.”
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader made the statement Wednesday during a brief press stakeout following a breakfast meeting with Mr. Blair at her residence.
Mr. Blair is on the second leg of a two-day West African tour of countries worse affected by the Ebola virus.
He had arrived from Sierra Leone and will visit Guinea next.
“Today he’s here to demonstrate that he has no fear that he can come even though we are Ebola ridden; he can go beyond the advocacy and show his presence and what this means in his support for the Liberian people,” she stressed further.
President Sirleaf thanked the former British Prime Minister for the visit and his support to Liberia through the AGI, his own personal encouragement and advocacy especially in assisting in planning the country’s long term vision, Liberia Rising 2030, and the shorter five-year vision, Agenda for Transformation.
Responding, Mr. Blair first expressed condolences to the President and the Liberian people for the thousands of lives lost during this unprecedented crisis. “This is a true tragedy and a bitter blow to a country that has made huge strides in recent years,” he said.
The former British Prime Minister thanked President Sirleaf for her leadership role in steering the affairs of State during this Ebola crisis.
Though he noted the resilience of the Liberian people in the face of the crisis and the significant progress the country is making, he warned that the crisis is not over.
“Slowing Ebola is not enough, we need to eradicate it,” he added, noting that the number of new cases each week is still higher than the total for any previous outbreak in history.