Defense Minister Brownie J. Samukai has lauded the Congress, people and government of the United States of America for their unwavering support to Liberia before, during and after the Liberian civil crisis.
Minister Samukai recounted the historical ties which have over the years formed a strong bond of friendship between the governments and peoples of both countries as demonstrated by United States’ massive support to Liberia’s defense sector.
According to a press release issued Friday, Minister Samukai made specific reference to the U.S Congressional appropriations through the Foreign Military Financing Program (FMFP) which, according to him, immensely enabled Liberia’s military institution to purchase defense-related articles, services, and training from the U.S.
The release said the Liberian Defense Minister also noted with “deep appreciation” the US Government’s support to the Liberian Defense Sector through the expanded International Military Education and Training (IMET) programs,” adding, “These programs have helped our military and civilian personnel in terms of training in the US and other foreign locations.”
He described as “outstanding and remarkable” the US Government’s support to Liberia in the areas of peacekeeping and peace-building.
On the issue of United Nations’ drawdown and the task of national security ownership, Minister Samukai intimated that the current drawdown of UNMIL serves as a wake-up call for strengthening of the national security apparatus and capability.
He noted that the United States Government’s support to Liberia’s security sector in general has repositioned the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) for the enormous task which lies ahead.
Minister Samukai made these assertions on Friday when the US Congressional delegation headed by a ranking member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts, paid a courtesy call on him at his Barclay Training Center office at the United Nations Drive.
Other members of the Congressional delegation were Representatives Karen Bass of California and Carolyn Maloney of New York.
In remarks, Senator Markey described as “heightened hospitality” the reception accorded him and his delegation and expressed confidence that the 2017 elections in Liberia will demonstrate Liberians’ preparedness to remain on the trajectory of democracy that will witness a smooth transfer of authority.
The Congressional delegation’s visit to Liberia is part of its travel itinerary to several countries aimed at assessing a wide array of US Government efforts in the areas of military-to-military and law enforcement partnership, democracy and governance activities, and education and other programs that contribute to stability.