Happy 2018, everyone. Great to be back here with you again; looking forward to working with you for another year.
The United States – and this is what we’d like to start out with today on – we’d like to congratulate the people of Liberia and the President-elect Weah on the peaceful, well-executed final round of voting on December the 26th. Many people around the world know that the president-elect is one of Africa’s most talented soccer stars, and we want to wish him much success in this new role, just as much success as he had during his playing days. We also would like to thank Vice President Joseph Boakai for his positive campaign and for his years of honorable service to Liberia.
This election represents a milestone in Liberia’s democracy. It marks the first peaceful transition from one democratically elected leader to another in over 70 years and further solidifies democratic trend in West Africa. The National Elections Commission managed an orderly, transparent elections process, while Liberia’s political parties, security forces, civil society organizations played a critical role in ensuring a peaceful, fair, and credible contest.
We remain committed to our longstanding partnership with Liberia and look forward to working with the President-elect to advance our mutual interests and expanding trade and economic growth, ensuring continued security, including combatting terrorism, and promoting global health security.