Liberia Likely to Suffer Aid Setback As Pres. Trump Threatens Retaliation Over Jerusalem Vote
Monrovia – Amid Liberia’s dwindled economy, the new President, George Manneh Weah, has said he would rely heavily on foreign aid, at least in the short term, to get his government up and running.
Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]
But Liberia’s traditional and historic biggest international partner, the United States of America, may likely not be very supportive as President Donald Trump is seeking congressional approval for the withholding of aids from countries which he claim do not support America’s interest.
President Trump, delivering his State of the Union Address on Tuesday at Congress made specific reference to countries that voted in favor of a United Nations (UN) resolution calling on the U.S. to withdraw its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Prior to the vote, the U.S President threatened to cut foreign aid from countries who would vote against America’s interest.
Delivering the Address, President Trump re-emphasized, “Last month, I also took an action endorsed unanimously by the U.S. Senate just months before: I recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Shortly afterwards, dozens of countries voted in the United Nations General Assembly against America’s sovereign right to make this recognition.
“In 2016, American taxpayers generously sent those same countries more than $20 billion dollars in aid.”
“That is why tonight, I am asking Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to America’s friends.”
“As we strengthen friendships around the world, we are also restoring clarity about our adversaries. When the people of Iran rose up against the crimes of their corrupt dictatorship, I did not stay silent.”
Notwithstanding the historic relationship between Liberia and America, Monrovia was unhesitant in voting for the UN resolution last December under the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf regime.
In the face of these threats by the U.S. government, Liberia’s President, who has just ushered in a new government to a broke economy, would have to reinforce ties with Uncle Sam.
In his acceptance speech upon winning the elections last December, Pres. Weah lamented that aid flows to Liberia have declined over the last few years.
“In our view, this decline is not good for the current transition – at least in the short term,” he said.
“While we work to grow the Liberian economy, expand our revenue base, medium term aid would be needed to support projects that would be critical to our long term growth,” he added.
President Weah’s call on the international community to support the early stages of his government was re-emphasized in his inaugural address when he called for stronger relationship between his administration and the United States government.
Weah acknowledged support from the European Union, the People’s Republic of China and other regional bodies.
However, the Weah-led administration would have to figure new diplomatic strategies to reinforce ties with Pres. Trump should it continue to benefit from the U.S. government.
Foreign Relations experts had earlier predicted that the Weah-led government could face “some challenges” with Pres. Trump.
But suggested that with the “right kind of diplomacy” to remind the US about their obligation to Liberia as stipulated in tries signed between the two nations these challenges would be neutralized.