(LINA) – President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has said the protection of Liberia’s territorial waters is of concern to her government.
The Liberian leader noted that continuous encroachment into Liberia’s territorial waters, and illegal fishing as well as the increase in piracy on the West African coast pose challenges to officers of the Liberian Coast Guard.
President Sirleaf expressed the concern Tuesday at the Barclay Training Center in Monrovia when the United States Government through its Embassy near Monrovia donated 18 Land Cruiser Jeeps, two Land Cruiser maintenance jeeps and two 24-foot Boston Whaler boats to the Government of Liberia.
President Sirleaf, however, pointed out that with this support from the US Government, officers of the Liberian Coast Guard will be more capable of meeting those challenges.
The Liberian leader has, meanwhile, indicated that though most of the vehicles will be sent to Liberia’s Peace Keeping Force in Mali to bridge certain deficiencies in Liberia’s peace keeping programs in that sisterly state, the rest will be used to assist officers of the Armed Forces of Liberia, specifically those from the Engineering Battalion back home to carry out road rehabilitation works across the country.
“Your timing is always strategic; this comes at a time when we are trying to see what we could do within our scarce resources to meet up with the requirements to continue our peace keeping mission in Mali,” President Sirleaf stressed.
“We are thankful for your support that has come a long way; from the start of this administration in the training of the new professional army to the continuing support from time to time in those critical areas of need are things that have enabled our army to continue to be efficient and capable in serving our country,” the Liberian leader emphasized.
President Sirleaf then lauded Defense Minister Brownie Samukai and AFL Chief of Staff Daniel Ziankahn for ably managing the affairs of the soldiers who continue to demonstrate high level of professionalism and efficiency.
Speaking earlier, when she officially turned over the keys of the equipment to President Sirleaf, US Ambassador to Liberia Christine A. Elder said the United States is proud to support the efforts of the Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces of Liberia and will continue to do so.
Ambassador Elder pointed out that as the partnership moves forward, the US through its Embassy’s Office of Security Cooperation is focusing on Defense Institution Strengthening, Engineer Support, Professional Development, Maritime Security and Medical Readiness.
The US envoy disclosed that the United States Govt. is also helping to establish systems to monitor the integrity of the Armed Forces, assist with force management and maintenance policies, develop basic clinical and laboratory facilities, provide training for AFL medical personnel and further develop the Engineer battalion.