Excellency President Hu Jintao and Chair of the Forum;
Excellency Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Co-Chair of the Forum;
Excellencies, Heads of State and Governments;
Excellency the Chairman and Members of the African Union;
Excellency, the Chairman and Members of ECOWAS;
On behalf of the people of Liberia, I wish to thank His Excellency President Hu of the People’s Republic of China, and to say how pleased we are for the opportunity to participate in this historic event.
We are also grateful for the very warm welcome and hospitality we have received here in Beijing and in the Provinces that we have visited since our arrival. The government and People of Liberia would like to give recognition to the growing bonds of friendship between China and Liberia and to the increasing level of assistance which our country receives in support of our development agenda. The areas of cooperation include agriculture, infrastructure, medical services, education, communications and debt relief. We look forward to expansion to other areas such as joint cooperation in exploration of our natural resources – minerals, forestry and hydrocarbon.
We note additionally the support from China in the processes in the Security Council that has led to the lifting of certain sanctions on our country and for the important role played by Chinese contingents in the United Nations peacekeeping force which provides stability to our country as we embark upon the restructuring and professionalization of our own security forces.
Mr. Chairman, around this table can be found the best and the brightest, the old and the young, the experienced and the untried of African leaders – all collectively representing the hope and the future for Africa’s development, for Africa’s economic and political independence.
We have and indeed we must take primary responsibility for Africa’s development, giving due recognition to NEPAD which calls not only for a compact between Africa and its external partners but also a compact between African governments and their people in terms of the exchange of all tenets of good governance, accountability, transparency, respect for basic freedoms and human rights, participation and efficiency in the allocation of resources.