The new United States Ambassador accredited to Liberia, Christine Ann Elder, on Thursday presented her Letters of Credence to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at her Foreign Affairs Ministry office in Monrovia.
The Ambassador, who arrived at the ceremony with a delegation from several top US institutions including USAID, Peace Corps, the Center for Disease Control and the interim team at the US Embassy, expressed gratitude for the level of cooperation that currently exists between the two countries.
“The US Government wouldn’t have done what she has and [is] doing in the country without the cordial level of cooperation from the Liberian people and government, “Elder said upon presenting her Letters.
Ambassador Elder was making reference to the numerous interventions that the US government has been making in several sectors such as governance, security, education, agriculture, health and others in Liberia.
Although Liberia and the US are traditional partners, Ambassador Elder described the current partnership subsisting between the two countries as unique. “This is a unique partnership and we have come to improve upon it and take on a higher level,” she said.
She pledged her government’s unflinching support in helping Liberia transition peacefully upon UNMIL’s departure.
“We will stand by you during this transition and ensure that you have a successful transition. We will stand with you shoulder to shoulder,” she said.
According to her, the White House told her at her last meeting before departing for Liberia that “We are here for Liberia, just tell us what the problems are when you are there.”
The new US envoy brings to three the number of female diplomats from that country to serve during the presidency of Madame Sirleaf. The others were Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield and Deborah Malac, who recently departed the country upon concluding her tour of duty.
Ambassador Elder’s Letters of Credence presentation comes within a few days of the arrival of US First Lady, Michelle Obama and her entourage, which comprises her two daughters and mother to Liberia.
“We very much look forward to working with you to achieve the development of Liberia that your country has been a fundamental partner.”
President Sirleaf touched on the many areas of cooperation between the two countries from which, according to her, there are a fair amount of successes. These areas include governance, security, education, infrastructure and energy.
With regard to infrastructure, the President told the Ambassador that the provision of cheap electricity through the Mount Coffee Hydro Plant in White Plains, which will be a great boost to the country’s economy, will be realized at the end of this year.
She said the country’s education system is now taking a “radical” approach with the introduction of the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP), though such an approach is not strange to the country. “This country’s education system has a long history of partnership,” President Sirleaf said. “Our public and private schools have been collaborating for a long time.”
Ambassador Elder is a native of the State of Kentucky and the daughter of Allen and Diane Elder. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kentucky and a Master of Arts from the George Washington University.
Her career has spanned both civil and foreign service. She served as a Trade Policy Assistant with the International Trade Administration at the United States Department of Commerce before joining the Department of State.
Her earlier assignments include Germany and Hungary.