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Release No: 339-13
May 16, 2013

Readout of Deputy Secretary of Defense Carter's Meeting with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

            Pentagon Press Secretary George Little provided the following readout: 

            Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter hosted Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf today at the Pentagon.  

            Deputy Secretary Carter welcomed President Sirleaf and expressed admiration for the foundational work the United States and Liberia have accomplished together to make the new Armed Forces of Liberia a viable and stabilizing force in Liberia and the region.  Deputy Secretary Carter noted that in December 2014 the Department of Defense will draw down Operation Onward Liberty, a program in which members of United States Africa Command mentor and advise their Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) counterparts.  Deputy Secretary Carter emphasized that while Onward Liberty will conclude, the U.S.-Liberian military-to-military relationship will remain strong, shifting from tactical-level training to strategic-level training and institutional development. 

            The two leaders discussed the opportunities and challenges presented as the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) draws down over the next few years.  Deputy Secretary Carter emphasized that the United States and other partners will work closely with Liberia to build its security institutions during this transition, and will work to enhance the capacity of these institutions so they may take on their rightful role as United Nations forces depart.  President Sirleaf thanked the United States for its support in developing a capable and professional AFL and Liberian Coast Guard, while Deputy Secretary Carter expressed appreciation for the Liberian Armed Forces’ pledged contribution to the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA).  The two leaders agreed to stay in close touch to build upon the strong bilateral relationship between their two countries.

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