Prez Sirleaf Off To AU in Addis Ababa

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President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has departed the country for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to join her colleagues at the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union.

The Assembly runs from January 30-31, an Executive Mansion release reported.

The ceremony is held this year on the theme, “African Year of Human Rights with a Particular Focus on Women’s Rights.”

It will also consider reports and draft decisions of committees of the Assembly of the Union including President Sirleaf in her capacity as Chairperson of the High Level Committee on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

On January 31, the African Union Commission Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, will tender a luncheon in honor of Heads-of-State and government, senior government officials, business personalities, companies and partners that contributed to the African Union Support to the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA), as well as representatives of ASEOWA health workers.

The efforts of health workers, the African private sector and others have been recognized across the world, and this will be an opportunity for the AU to celebrate and acknowledge the role of a range of stakeholders in mobilizing solidarity to defeat this epidemic.

A total of 855 African health workers were deployed to the three most affected countries by the AU through its ASEOWA mission.

The specific objectives of the luncheon are to recognize the roles played by different stakeholders, including the governments and people of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone; AU Member states that made financial and other contributions, seconded health workers, the ASEOWA health workers, who risked their lives and contributed towards turning the trajectory of the disease. Others to be recognized are the private sector, who contributed financially and otherwise to the Ebola efforts, especially the up-scaling of ASEOWA deployment, AU partners who contributed in kind and to the financing of ASEOWA, and the international community for their solidarity in the fight against Ebola.

The luncheon is to also celebrate the collective victory against the Ebola virus epidemic, the lessons learnt and the formal end of the ASEOWA mandate, as Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone move towards maintaining zero infections and containment. It will highlight the importance of the African Centre for Disease Control, and on-going strengthening of public health as critical to the goal of Agenda 2063 of investing in the African people, and reaching the SDGs on health.

While President Sirleaf is away from the country, Justice Minister, Cllr. Benedict Sannoh, will chair the Cabinet in consultation with Vice President Joseph N Boakai.

President Sirleaf and her delegation will return on Monday, February 1.

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