German Chancellor Angela Merkel left Liberia Sunday night at the end of a one-day visit to round up her five-day Sub-Saharan Africa tour. Cyrus Badio is press secretary to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. He told VOA the German Chancellor made additional commitments to help Liberia overcome its foreign debt burden and assist with infrastructure development.
?Overall, it was a very, very successful visit here by the German Chancellor. As you know, the president was in Berlin some time in May and held very fruitful discussions with the German Chancellor Merkel. This visit was a reciprocal visit by the German Chancellor in furtherance of the discussions the both leaders held when President Sirleaf was in Berlin later this year,? he said.
Badio said the two leaders also discussed how to ease Liberia?s foreign debt burden.
?Germany has been playing a leading role in the effort to get Liberia debt waver through the G8 framework. And so Germany was concerned about the debt issue and has indicated that it will continue to push for complete debt waver. But the question now is there is still some remaining balance, some $93 million which is gap that has been created out of the debt issue. And so Germany has promised it will talk with other partners which are not in the G8 such as Chile, Turkey, and Argentina to see what can be done to fill in the gap of $93 million,? Badio said.
He said the German Chancellor also made additional commitments to help Liberia with its infrastructure development.
?As you know when the president was in Germany in May, the German contributed nearly $15 million toward the infrastructure fund. Germany, she has announced again, will contribute some $4 million Euros in addition to the first $15 million that Germany promised toward the infrastructure fund. She also promised that she would use her influence to encourage other countries to contribute to Liberia?s infrastructure fund,? Badio said.
Badio also said President Sirleaf and the German Chancellor also discussed the upcoming Europe-Africa summit and whether Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe should attend or not.
?The both leaders are of the view that whatever issues there are, of course they acknowledged that there are some problems in Zimbabwe, but they are concerned that the question of whether Mugabe should attend or not has the propensity of overshadowing whatever discussions that will be taking place. But the German leader is of the conviction that all countries which are invited should attend, and no one should be excluded,? Badio said.