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Liberian President Pushes for Multi-Lateral Debt Relief


Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf told the Voice of America (VOA) yesterday that President Bush is committed to canceling Liberia's debt

Washington, D.C., October 25, 2007 - Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf told the Voice of America (VOA) yesterday that President Bush is committed to canceling Liberia's debt.

In an exclusive interview, the African leader said, "The debt we're really fighting with now is the multi-lateral debt, particularly the debt with the IMF." She continued, "Treasury Secretary (Henry) Paulson of the U.S. has been very firm in reiterating the fact that President Bush's commitment to resolve this debt problem is firm, it's unwavering, and that it may take a little bit longer than we anticipated, but it will get done."

President Sirleaf recounted that President Bush told her in their meeting yesterday that he would like Liberia to qualify for the Millennium Challenge Account. She observed that Liberia has already met seven of the 19 threshold indicators, which include measures of ruling justly, investing in people, and encouraging economic freedom.

In the interview broadcast on radio today, President Sirleaf reiterated her support for the U.S. military command known as AFRICOM, a position criticized by many other African leaders. "I think it has several advantages for the training of our troops to prepare us for interventions, since we must take primary responsibility for that," Sirleaf said.

The interview will also appear on the October 26 Perspectives television program at 1545 UTC (11:45am EDT). Perspectives is VOA's daily English-language television program for viewers in sub-Saharan Africa. VOA's TV to Africa reaches an estimated weekly audience of more than seven million viewers. Clips from the interview are available online at http://www.VOANews.com/english/africa/.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 115 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

For more information, call the Office of Public Affairs at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail publicaffairs@voa.gov.

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