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August 14, 09

NEWS / Liberia Is Model for Post-Conflict Transformation, Clinton Says

By Stephen Kaufman
Staff Writer

Washington — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says that after emerging from a 14-year civil war, Liberia is a model to other countries that are transitioning from conflict, praising the country’s reform, reconstruction and reconciliation efforts, as well as the government’s actions against corruption.

Speaking with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Monrovia August 13, Clinton praised the Liberian leader for being “dedicated to the betterment of the Liberian people” and “consistent in her leadership on behalf of solving the problems that Liberia faces.”

In the three years since the end of the civil conflict, Liberia is now “a model of successful transition from conflict to post-conflict, from lawlessness to democracy, from despair to hope,” Clinton said.

She praised the country’s fiscal policies, including the way Liberia is decreasing its debt and has lately enjoyed a high rate of growth in its gross domestic product (GDP).

The secretary also said she is impressed with Liberia’s steps against corruption, describing them as being more advanced than those of many other countries.

“We’ve seen a commitment by President Sirleaf and her government and the legislature which passed the [anti-corruption] laws,” she said, adding, “Now they have to implement them.”

Clinton said corruption “is a problem everywhere,” and “a cancer that eats away at the strength of institutions and the confidence of people in their government and in each other.”

She called on Liberians to continue to speak out against corruption and to demand change not only from their government but also “from themselves and their societies.”

Economic progress is dependent on good governance and adherence to the rule of law, as well as economic policies, the secretary said. With Liberian elections coming in 2011, she said, the United States is proudly contributing $17.5 million for programs to ensure that they will be free and fair.

President Sirleaf said her government is working to strengthen anti-corruption institutions and implement the new legislation. “We now need for the public and the media to recognize the progress and to join us in this fight,” she said. “Together, we will win, we will slay this monster.”

Following her meeting with Sirleaf, Clinton spoke to the Liberian National Police Academy in Monrovia, where the United States is helping to train police recruits.

During the civil conflict, the police “instilled fear” in the population, she said. “Today you must fight fear,” she told the recruits. Today, Liberia’s men, women and especially its children need a good police force, she said.

“They need you not only to protect them and to provide security; they need you to help heal the wounds left by 14 years of conflict. They need you to help renew the promise of Liberia,” Clinton said.


Tags: secretary of state,


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