By Pearl Matibe in Washington DC
To show diplomatic solidarity, celebrate democracy, and strengthen ties, President Joseph Biden, Jr. has officially announced a distinguished Presidential Delegation set to attend the inauguration of Liberia’s President-elect, His Excellency Joseph Boakai, scheduled for Monday, January 22, 2024, in Monrovia, a White House press statement confirms.
The delegation led by the Honorable Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a representative of the United States of America to the United Nations, the delegation underscores the enduring partnership between the United States and Liberia, reflecting shared values and a commitment to democratic progress.
The Presidential Delegation includes key figures, each contributing to the multifaceted dimensions of the U.S.-Liberian bilateral relationship. Ms. Catherine Rodriguez, Chargé d’Affaires, of the U.S. Embassy Monrovia, joins as a representative of the diplomatic corps, symbolizing the strong ties at the governmental level.
The presence of Stephen Benjamin, Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor, signifies the importance the U.S. places on fostering collaboration in public engagement.
Furthermore, the delegation boasts the inclusion of Isobel Coleman, Deputy Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, and Judd Devermont, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs, National Security Council. Their participation reflects the U.S.’s commitment to supporting Liberia’s development and prosperity.
The significance of this delegation is magnified against the backdrop of recent Liberian Presidential elections. The U.S. Department of State’s press statement, issued on November 17, 2023, highlighted Liberia’s commitment to democracy as President George Weah conceded defeat to Joseph Boakai. The United States commended the Liberian people for their participation in the electoral process and emphasized the importance of free, fair, and peaceful elections.
The long-standing ties between the U.S. and Liberia have been further solidified through a trade and investment framework agreement, exemplifying a commitment to economic cooperation. Since establishing diplomatic relations in 1864, both nations have collaborated on various fronts, with a particular focus on consolidating democratic progress and enhancing governance institutions’ transparency and accountability.
President Weah’s concession speech echoed a call for unity and patriotism, emphasizing the nation’s interest over political affiliations. The U.S. has applauded Liberia’s institutions, especially the National Elections Commission, for their dedication to conducting a successful electoral process.
As the delegation prepares to attend President Boakai’s inauguration, it symbolizes more than a diplomatic gesture—it symbolizes a celebration of democracy, a recognition of shared values, and a commitment to strengthening the bond between the United States and Liberia. The presence of high-profile officials underscores the importance of this historic event in shaping the future trajectory of U.S.-Liberian relations.
In a world often marked by challenges and uncertainties, the joint commitment to democratic ideals and collaborative efforts for mutual progress stand out as beacons of hope. As the U.S. delegation converges on Monrovia, it marks not only the beginning of a new chapter for Liberia but also a reaffirmation of the enduring friendship and cooperation between these two nations.
Pearl Matibe is a Washington, DC-based White House Correspondent, and media commentator with expertise on U.S. foreign policy, and international security. You may follow her on Twitter: @PearlMatibe