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Prime Minister’s media statement during the State Visit of President of Liberia to India (September 9-13, 2013)

September 11, 2013

Your Excellency, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf,
Ladies and Gentlemen of the media.

It is a great honour to welcome President Sirleaf on her first state visit to India. Her voice is heard with great respect in Africa and throughout the world. Her vision and leadership has contributed to Liberia’s political transformation, economic resurgence and progress towards peace and stability in the region. We are honoured that she has accepted the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for 2012, which will be conferred on her tomorrow by the President.

India and Liberia enjoy warm and friendly relations. Our official exchanges, trade and investment linkages and people-to-people interactions are growing steadily. President Sirleaf and I reviewed our relations and pledged to work together to realize the full potential of our partnership.

We have decided to enhance our cooperation in a number of areas, including agricultural research, health, small and medium enterprises, science & technology, education and skill development. A new Joint Commission will guide and review progress in our bilateral cooperation. The Memorandum of Understanding signed today for cooperation in the oil and gas sector will enable our countries to undertake structured cooperation in this area, where India’s experience can be of some relevance to Liberia.

There is great potential to further strengthen bilateral trade and investment relations. Indian investments in Liberia, especially in the mining sector, are growing. I requested President Sirleaf to facilitate Indian investment in agriculture, infrastructure, hydrocarbon, mining and manufacturing in line with Liberia’s national development goals and policies.

In recent years, India has participated in Liberia’s development effort through human resource and capacity building support. I conveyed to President Sirleaf our decision to extend a line of credit of 144 million US dollars to fund a power transmission and distribution project in Liberia. We will also enhance scholarships and training slots under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme for Liberia. India will be setting up an IT Centre, a Vocational Training Centre, a Farm Science Centre and a Training Centre for Women in the field of solar energy in Liberia.

We also exchanged views on the India-Africa Forum Summit in pursuit of our shared objective to build a robust and contemporary India-Africa partnership.

Our two countries have agreed to work together for the promotion of international peace and stability, particularly on the African continent, and to make common cause to ensure that global governance is just and meets the aspirations of the developing world. We also exchanged views on regional and global issues, including the urgent need for reform of the United Nations Security Council. India deeply appreciates Liberia’s support for its candidature as a permanent member of a reformed and expanded Security Council.

President Sirleaf’s visit has imparted fresh impetus to our joint efforts to strengthen our bilateral relations. Our talks today have laid a strong foundation for closer political understanding and deepening of our economic exchanges in the coming years.

Thank you.

New Delhi
September 11, 2013

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