Monrovia – President George Weah’s invitation to attend a summit of African leaders is still in the cards despite the imposition of sanctions on three key members of his government, United States Ambassador to Liberia, Mr. Michael McCarthy has said.
Speaking to a select group of media manager and editors at the US embassy Monday, Ambassador McCarthy said the sanctions are only targeting the individuals named.
Asked whether he expects President Weah to dismiss the officials named, Ambassador McCarthy said: “I would never tell a president who is elected by the people what to do but I think the President knows what the best moves will be. I also want to emphasize that President was invited to Washington in December and nothing will change and that invitation stands because this is against individuals and not the country. I’m sure this will get the attention of the President. In some ways, this offers new tools and impetus to make good decisions for the country.”
The sanctions fall under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and named Minister of State Nathaniel McGill, National Port Authority Director Bill Twehway, and Solicitor General Syrenius Cephus. After a rigorous inter-agency investigation, the Treasury Department determined that these three officials engaged in corrupt acts, and they are now subject to U.S. financial sanctions and visa restrictions. This is a decision that the United States Government does not take lightly because corruption is not a light topic. As Treasury Secretary Yellen put it, “Corrupt acts take resources from citizens, undermine public trust, and threaten the progress of those who fight for democracy.
Delivering a special remark on the commemoration of Liberia’s 175th Independence Day on July 26, Ambassador McCarthy, conveyed the request by President Biden for President Weah to attend the scheduled December Biden Summit in Washington.
President Biden had previously announced that the United States will bring together leaders from across the African continent for a major summit in December in Washington to discuss pressing challenges from food security to climate change. “The summit will demonstrate the United States’ enduring commitment to Africa, and will underscore the importance of U.S.-Africa relations and increased cooperation on shared global priorities,” Biden said in a statement.
The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, scheduled for Dec. 13-15, was announced simultaneously in virtual remarks by Vice President Kamala Harris to the U.S.-Africa Business Summit in Marrakech hosted by the Corporate Council on Africa and the kingdom of Morocco and attended by a U.S. delegation. About 50 African leaders are expected to join Biden for the Dec. 13-15 series of meetings.