President Sirleaf Off to India, China

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President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has departed for official visits to India and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The visits will run from October 27 to November 6.

The President, according to the Executive Mansion, will participate in the third edition of the India-Africa Forum Summit, which takes place in New Delhi from today, October 28 to October 30. The President will later proceed on a state visit to the People’s Republic of China from November 1—6.

In India, the India–Africa Forum Summit will enable consultations at the highest political level between the heads of state and governments of all 54 nations across Africa and the Indian government to give a new thrust to an age-old partnership.

It will also provide an opportunity to not only reflect on the past, but to define the road ahead in tune with the present times, the Executive Mansion statement said.

The five-day summit is to start with consultations on the official level followed by the Heads of State and Governments Summit on October 29, with scheduled bilateral meetings on October 30.

This is expected to be India Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi’s government’s biggest diplomatic outreach with delegates from a large number of African countries since his inauguration in May 2014.

Earlier scheduled to be held in December 2014, with a three-year gap after the 2011 Addis Ababa summit, the India – Africa Forum Summit was postponed to 2015 due to what observers claimed was the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Unlike the previous two occasions where the event was restricted to only 10 to 15 African countries, this summit will include African leaders from all 54 countries.

The first India-Africa Forum Summit was held in New Delhi, India, in 2008, while the second was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2011.

During the bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Modi, the release said, President Sirleaf will use the opportunity to conclude or obtain commitment to three program proposals in the power, road and health sectors that have already been submitted.

She is expected to also meet with the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Vandanta Mining Company, which has the Western Cluster Concession, to try to reach an agreement on the way forward.

The State Visit to China includes scheduled meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang.

During their meetings, the President is expected to obtain commitments to program proposals in the road and health sectors that have already been submitted.

She will also seek implementation acceleration in long delayed projects such as the Ministerial Complex and the Capitol Building expansion, while a key effort will aim at support for China Union in its proposal to add value to iron ore processing by converting to steel products.

While President Sirleaf is away from the country, the Minister of Defense, Brownie J. Samukai, will serve as Chairman of the Cabinet in consultation with Vice President Joseph N. Boakai.

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