11 July Press Briefing Notes

Monday, 11th July 2011

Members of the Press:

• President Sirleaf was pleased to play host to the Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire, H.E. Mr. Guillaume Soro, who paid a one-day working visit to Liberia. The President and the Ivorian Prime Minister held bilateral talks that centered on such urgent issues like the security situation at their common borders, and the situation of the tens of thousands of refugees currently residing in Liberia as a consequence of the post-electoral violence in Côte d’Ivoire. The two leaders also discussed regional economic integration within the framework of the Mano River Union, as well as other matters of interest to the two countries.

• On Monday, July 11, 2011, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Chevron Corporation, Mr. John Watson, paid a courtesy call on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The oil company is expected to begin drilling its first deepwater exploration well in Liberian waters before the end of the year. The President said she was very pleased that even before the beginning of their activities, Chevron has undertaken several social projects in the areas of health, education and enterprise development that are having great impact on the lives of many Liberians. On his part, the CEO of Chevron said his company has built a successful business on the principles of transparency, integrity, strong environmental standards and in partnership with governments wherever it operates. He said his company looked forward to working with the Liberian Government in establishing that high integrity method of doing business in the country.

• The Special Committee of Inquiry appointed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to investigate reports of alleged police brutality against students, has submitted its report to the President. The 5-member Committee, headed by former Labor Minister, Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe, submitted its report to the President recently.  The President is reviewing the report to determine what action to take, in keeping with the recommendations of the Committee. The President established the Committee in April, following the March 22 student disturbances in Monrovia. It was mandated to investigate actions on both sides and make recommendations.

• Some news organs published a purported email reportedly sent to the President’s Office from Mr. Larry Gibson, an advisor during the President’s 2005 campaign. No such email was ever submitted to the Office of the President. Furthermore, there is no understanding or contract between Mr. Gibson, either through the Unity Party or through the Office of the President. The so-called email contains fabrications and lies, and attempts to create confusion in the minds of Liberians as they embark upon this year’s democratic process. The President wishes to clarify that she has not been in contact with Mr. Gibson for more than a year and there have been no exchanges between her and the American lawyer. Liberians and the media must brace themselves for this type of disinformation tactics and smear campaign as the electoral process gets under way. The President reaffirms her commitment to a strong campaign where issues will be debated, so that the Liberian people may judge each candidate on their records rather than on personal attacks and lies.