The government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has donated a consignment of military equipment comprising 20 heavy duty trucks, two graders, 10,000 uniforms, and 40 military tents.
The ceremony was held at the Ministry of National Defense at the Barclay Training Center (BTC) on Wednesday, the eve of the 59th anniversary of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL).
China’s donation to the AFL is part of efforts by the PRC to prepare the Liberian soldiers to take over the country’s security as the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) retires.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf praised the PRC for what she described as yet another demonstration of true partnership in the rebuilding efforts of a new AFL, with the donation of equipment valued at US$3 million.
“We are here to participate in the demonstration of true partnership, a partnership that comes to you at a time when you are really in need,” President Sirleaf, who is Commander-in-Chief (C-I-C) of the AFL told the soldiers when she officially cut the ribbon to the consignment of military equipment donated by the Chinese.
“The equipment,”she said, “could not have come at any better time than now when most of the equipment used by the army has now broken down or are being repaired,” adding that the donation will be utilized for the purposes intended.
President Sirleaf commended Defense Minister Brownie J. Samukai “for his leadership”; personnel of the AFL led by its Chief of Staff, Brigadier-General Daniel Ziankhan, “for being so courageous, committed and dedicated to duty,” adding, “This contribution is clearly an attestation of the performance of yourself and your gallant men and women in arms that have enabled the Chinese Ambassador to Liberia, Zhang Yue, and all our other partners to have great confidence in your ability to keep our nation safe and secure.”
For his part, Ambassador Zhang recalled that the presentation was the second batch of substantive military assistance from China to Liberia during his tour of duty in Monrovia.
He stressed that in the past decade, China has been active in assisting the Liberian government and its people in their endeavors to rebuilding the country, pointing out: “We take Liberia’s priorities as our assistance priorities and aim at bringing tangible benefits to the Liberian people.”
Ambassador Zhang said he appreciates the achievements made by the Liberian government under the leadership of President Sirleaf to develop the national economy and the speeding up of infrastructure construction that brought benefits to Liberia.
He stressed that the donation to the AFL was another hard evidence of China’s sincere and strong support to Liberia in its peacekeeping and social stability maintenance efforts during the course of UNMIL drawdown and Liberia’s post-Ebola recovery.
In brief remarks, Defense Minister Brownie J. Samukai Jr. commended the People’s Liberation Army of China for the assistance, terming it, “a gift that will go a long way in helping to augment the capacity of the army.”
China, like other Liberian partners, Samukai said, has been a major player in the training of the new AFL, providing technical, logistical and other forms of support.