Liberia-China Sign U.S.$4 Million Grant for Armed Forces
China has signed to grant Liberia US$4.5 million aimed at providing more training and logistics for the Engineering Brigade of the Armed Forces of Liberia, AFL.
According to Defense Minister Brownie Samukai, the addendum agreement signed Thursday between the two nations was an outcome of a combination of discussions held and agreed in order for China to render specific assistance to the AFL engineering company.
Minister Samukai lauded the People's Republic of China for assistance to Liberia's post-war reconstruction drive.
"Let me express, first of all, our deep appreciation to the Government and the People's Republic of China for their continued support for the Armed Forces of Liberia as well as the Ministry of Defense," Mr. Samukai said.
"The addendum to be signed today is a combination of discussions we've had with the People's Republic of China for providing specific assistance to the Engineering Company of the Armed Forces of Liberia," he added on AFL appreciation day.
Since the end of the civil crisis in 2003, China has been a major contributor to the Liberia's economic, social and political revitalization surge.
China has over the years contributed millions of dollars to Liberia's post-conflict governance reform process, as well as many scholarships for Liberian technicians, administrators, students and for other capacity building initiatives aimed at bridging human resource capacity needs to accelerate national development.
Chinese Ambassador here, Mr. Zhao Jianhua, extolled the strength of Sino-Liberia relations and pledged more support to the AFL on behalf of his government and people.
"Madam President, several months ago we signed a grant agreement to officially launch the assistance program for the Chinese government to provide equipment and training to establish an engineering company for the Armed Forces of Liberia," Ambassador Zhao noted.
"And today I am going to sign an addendum to that agreement which identified and confirmed the list of equipment that we're going to provide based on the request proposed by the Ministry of Defense" he said at the signing ceremony here.
"In the coming year, that is 2014, we're going to deliver all the equipment, and we're going to begin the training program," Ambassador Zhao said.
He praised President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, saying: "Madam President, we're very happy to see, under your great leadership over the past seven years that Liberia has undergone significant progress in national reconciliation, national stability and national development. I can see; and I can safely say, without any doubt that Liberia is rising."
Ambassador Zhao added: "As a good partner and a reliable friend, you can rest assured that China will continue to extend its support and assistance to Liberia's reconciliation efforts, and national socio-economic development" drive.
In a solidarity speech on Affiliation Day for the Liberian army, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Commander in Chief of the AFL, Thursday renewed government's commitment to supporting the Armed Forces of Liberia.
President Sirleaf, who praised soldiers of the AFL for their gallantry and dedication to duty, promised that her government would support the army through budgetary allocation.
At Camp Sande Ware military barracks in Careysburg, where she dedicated a newly renovated building for the AFL's training and command structure, the C-I-C said: "We need to work to ensure that more facilities are built for our brave men and women in arms. We're asked that we look into the area of the school system where an annex can be built to accommodate and more children that enjoy quality education in their schools. And I can promise you we will look into to that to +ensure that this is done."
"We also know that work is ongoing for the rehabilitating of facilities at Camp Todee," the President disclosed, adding: "It will take us a while to get it completely finished. But the work has started, and you also have the commitment of your government to work with the Minister of Defense and his staff, to ensure that the facilities at Camp Todee are also reconstructed and rehabilitated to become a quality training center for our men in arms."
"Once again, to all of you and the sacrifices that you have made in enabling us to enhance the capability of our army, we like to say a big commendation to all of you" the President said.
On the area of salaries, she told the soldiers: "As you well know the needs for our country are many. Any area you can think of, we need to do something to expand facilities to improve conditions; and to be able to do more for all of the sectors. But once again, we can say to you that you going to have our commitment that as we go about in the allocation of resources, that our arm forces will not be left behind; that you will be able to get your fair share of the resources."
via New Democrat (Monrovia)