Monrovia – Ambassador Michael McCarthy has welcomed Liberia’s participation in the upcoming Summit for Democracy organized by the United States Government next month.
In his monthly press roundtable on Wednesday, Ambassador McCarthy announced that On December 9-10, 2021, United States’ President Joe Biden will host the virtual summit for leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector to set forth and affirmative agenda for democratic renewal and to tackle through collective action the greatest threats faced by democracies today.
On Liberia’s selection, the U.S. Envoy said the last three presidential elections, the peaceful transfer of power in 2017 and the government’s consistent commitment to nonviolent, free and fair elections exemplify why Liberia was invited.
Speaking further, he noted that the Summit for Democracy is not a celebration for world leaders to congratulate themselves on a job well done.
“It is a call to renewed action, because Democracies by their nature, are constant work in progress, very much including our own,” he said.
He added the summit will be an opportunity for participants to commit to meaningful, new actions that combats authoritarianism, defends against corruption and promotes respect for human rights at home and abroad.
Liberia’s selection for the summit comes at a time the Weah-government has been pushing for closer ties and more cordial engagements with the U.S.
Ambassador McCarthy said the event itself is a big deal. The expectation, he noted, is that all participants including the United States and the Liberian Government, will make a meaningful individual commitment towards the summit’s objectives.
“These commitments will need to be ambitious yet realistic and concrete. We expect all participants to implement the commitments they make,” he said.
The Summit in December will be the first of two summits. The other will be held about the same time in 2022, and it is expected to be held in-person.
Ambassador McCarthy noted that selection of participants for the second summit will depend on the success in realizing those commitments.
Liberia has made significant strides in consolidating peace and democratic governance. But corruption has been identified as one of the main vices that is stalling its progress.
Ambassador McCarthy noted that it is the anticipation of the U.S. Government that Liberia will commit to putting in place mechanisms such as strengthening institutions and implementing legislations aimed at combatting the menace.
“We look forward to hearing what ambitious commitments will be made by the Government of Liberia. And this is where you come in. Take note of the commitments made by the government and follow their progress,” he said while addressing the press.
He said the United States will be announcing its commitments in the coming weeks. However, for defending authoritarianism, the United States is pledging to support and protect independent media. He announced that the U.S. Department of Justice changed long-standing policy and now prohibits prosecutors from obtaining information or records of members of the news media acting within the scope of newsgathering activities.
To fight corruption, which President Biden named a core U.S. national security interest and government-wide priority earlier this year, he noted that U.S. departments and agencies are currently at work developing new policies, programs and proposals on how to work with partners to curb illicit finance, work more effectively to hold corrupt actors accountable, and build stronger international partnerships with improved foreign assistance.
In the effort to promote respect for human rights, he noted that the Biden-Harris administration has established a White House Gender Policy Council, the first its kind. Members of the council will coordinate across all federal agencies to instill a strategic, whole-of-government approach to gender equality and gender equity, with particular attention paid to the barriers faced by women and girls, he noted.