Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has arrived in the United States for what aides are calling a combination of both private and official visit.
But, it’s not clear whether she will meet with President Barack Obama at the White House, amid speculation of U.S. dissatisfaction over the Liberian government’s fight against corruption, and whether President Sirleaf is ready to implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report.
President Sirleaf with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
The commission's report bans the president from running for public office for the next 30 years because of her alleged role in Liberia’s civil war.
Liberia's ambassador to the United States, Milton Nathaniel Barnes, said President Sirleaf will be meeting with officials from both the private sector and the U.S. government to brief them on the progress towards Liberia’s reconstruction.
“The president is here to meet with both our partners, both in the U.S. government leadership and in the private sector, those private sector entities that are involved in our partnership in Liberia, especially on the side of the U.S. government and sort of updating them on where we are on the progress of the reconstruction of Liberia,” he said.
Ambassador Barnes said President Sirleaf will also conduct personal business while in the United States.
“It’s an official visit where she will be meeting officials of the U.S. government. At the same time, she will be doing some private things. She will be doing her medicals. She will also be participating in three separate commencement exercises,” Ambassador Barnes said.
He said President Sirleaf was the commencement speaker at Rutgers University in New Jersey and will also be the commencement speaker at Yale University in Connecticut, as well as at George University in Washington, D.C.
Ambassador Barnes said plans are still being made for President Sirleaf to meet with President Barack Obama.
“There is a very good likelihood that she will meet with President Obama. The issue is a matter of scheduling. And so I, as her ambassador, I’m in close touch with the White House, and we are trying to work it to make sure it happens. But, there is a very good likelihood that that will happen,” Barnes said.
He said, contrary to criticism, President Sirleaf has every intention to implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
“As you know, the Truth Commission, while it is controversial, I think President Sirleaf has articulated her general overall agreement with it and has begun to put into place plans to implement the recommendations of the Truth Reconciliation Commission,” Ambassador Barnes said.
He said President Sirleaf also plans to meet with members of the Liberian Diaspora in the United States.