Ellen Flies to African-Arab Summit

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President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, heading a high-level delegation, has departed the country for an official visit to the State of Kuwait, where she is expected to attend the African-Arab summit. She will also pay a working visit to the government and people of the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) capital Dubai , after which she will head westward to participate in the 2013 European Development Days Forum in Belgium.

According to the President’s office, President Sirleaf’s first stop will be a four-day visit to Kuwait, where she will attend the 3rd African-Arab Summit to be held at the Bayan Palace in Kuwait City on November 19 and 20.

Highlighted on the Summit’s agenda will be trade and investment issues that would impact positively on the peoples of the two regions. The Summit will be held under the theme: “Partners in Development and Investment.”

At the conclusion of the summit, it is anticipated that delegates will adopt a declaration and resolutions to advance the achievement of the aims of the partnership.

While in Kuwait City, President Sirleaf will hold bilateral meetings with the Emir of Kuwait, Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and other government officials in the interest of the government and people of Liberia.

The first such Summit was held in Cairo, Egypt, in March, 1977. Three decades later, the event was revived at a 2nd Summit held in October, 2010, in Sirte, Libya.

Immediately after the climax of the summit, the Liberian President will begin a three-day Working Visit to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, on Wednesday, November 21, at the invitation of Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is the Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai.

President Sirleaf will hold discussions with Sheikh Rashid Al Maktoum, as well as other high-ranking officials. The Liberian leader’s focus at the discussion will be on infrastructure. She will visit the Dubai Port facility; the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industries; the Road and Transport Authority; and the Emirates Competitive Council.

In furtherance of her journey, President Sirleaf and her delegation will arrive in Brussels, Belgium, on Sunday, November 24, to participate in the 2013 European Development Days forum.

“As one of three Co-Chairs of the United Nations High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, President Sirleaf will address the EDD Opening Plenary, titled “A Vision for the Post-2015 Agenda.” Other high-level speakers are: the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso; the President of Niger, H.E. Mahamadou Issoufou; the Prime Minister of Cape Verde, José Maria Neves; and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma,” the Executive Mansion said.

President Sirleaf, who also chairs the African Union’s High-Level Committee, will serve as a panelist during the closing post-2015 discussion on “A New Development Agenda: The Way Forward.”

African Union’s High-Level Committee was set up to ensure that the African Common Position is clearly incorporated in the formulation of the next global development agenda which will succeed the Millennium Development Goals,

Other panelists expected to grace the event are the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs; the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Jan Eliasson; the Executive Director of Oxfam International, Winnie Byanyima; the Chair of Southern Voices on Post-MDGs, Debapriya Bhattacharya; and the Director for the Centre for the Study of African Economies at The University of Oxford, Professor Paul Collier.

In her capacity as Chair of the High-Level Panel on Fragile States, President Sirleaf will preside over morning and afternoon side events on the subject. The Panel is an initiative of the African Development Bank.

President Sirleaf will hold a series of bilateral meetings with the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso; the Director General of the European Investment Bank, Tamsyn Barton; the Executive Director of the International Trade Center, Arancha Gonzalez; the Deputy Executive Director, United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat), Aisa Kirabo Kacyira; the European Union Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs; the President of the European Council, Herman Von Rompoy.

The Liberian President will also hold a trilateral meeting with the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security/VP of the European Commission, Baroness Catherine Ashton, together with the President of Malawi, Her Excellency Mrs. Joyce Banda. 

The European Development Days was organized by the European Commission and is Europe’s premier forum on international affairs and development cooperation – the gathering of European development practitioners and their partners worldwide.

Its aim is to win hearts and minds of all stakeholders, fostering engagement and facilitating the implementation of the agenda for greater aid effectiveness. Since it was launched in 2006, EDD has become one of the fastest-growing international forums and a landmark event in the development calendar. 

It is anticipated that the Liberian leader will return home on Friday, November 29. While she is away, the Minister of Finance, Mr. Amara Konneh, will chair the Cabinet in consultation with Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, Sr.

Members of the President’s delegation have not been disclosed, but reliable sources have it that the President left with a large number of her cabinet, include two independent journalist; one from the print media and another from the electronic media.

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