LIBERIA: Pres. Sirleaf Meets U. S. Deputy Secretary of State

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Friday held a meeting with the United States Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, Heather Higginbottom.

Secretary Higginbottom, who arrived in Liberia June 19 for a two-day official visit on the last leg of a three-nation African tour that included stops in Senegal and Kenya, paid a courtesy call on the Liberian leader at her temporary office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

An Executive Mansion release said during their meeting, President Sirleaf and Secretary Higginbottom discussed the August 2014 African Leaders Summit in Washington, which is expected to underscore President Barack Obama’s strong commitment to Africa.

They also discussed the importance of developing Liberia’s energy sector for the continued economic growth of the country, and the recent travel of 15 Liberians who are in the United States to take part in the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

Addressing a press stakeout following the meeting, Liberia’s Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan said the discussion between the Liberian leader and the U.S. Deputy Secretary was “very productive”.

For her part, Deputy Secretary Higginbotton, who is also here to access the U.S. Embassy operations in Liberia, commended President Sirleaf for her leadership of the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the Common African Position (CAP).

She reaffirmed that the United States welcomes the CAP, and expressed support for Africa’s leadership and participation as they work together to pursue a successful Post-2015 Development Agenda.
She praised the long-standing relationship between the United States and Liberia, and expressed delight at having the opportunity to see Liberia in person.

“The ties between our government and our people are strong and we will continue to strengthen this partnership in the years ahead,” the Deputy Secretary said.

She thanked the Government and people of Liberia for the warm reception and for taking time to give her an insight into some of the key issues facing Liberia as the country moves forward in its development agenda.

Ms. Higginbottom was confirmed as Deputy Secretary of State by the US Senate in December 2013.

In her current role, she shares in the global responsibilities for US foreign policy and has broad management and programmatic oversight responsibilities for both the Department of State and the US Agency for International Development.

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