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Clinton: Liberia's Progress is a Triumph of the Human Spirit
That Liberians emerged from 14 years of bloodshed and lawlessness to produce peace, free elections and a democratic government is not so much a triumph of might as it is a triumph of the human spirit, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said
That Liberians emerged from 14 years of bloodshed and lawlessness to produce peace, free elections and a democratic government is not so much a triumph of might as it is a triumph of the human spirit, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in an address to the Liberian National Legislature.

"Some of you in this chamber bore arms against each other, but the people of Liberia demanded peace, stability, and a better future," Clinton said in an August 13 address at the Capitol Building in Monrovia.

"And your being here, committed to the peaceful resolution of dispute, is a great message that the people of Liberia have representatives of a unified government in a parliament and in a presidency entrusted to serve the Liberian people, to help rebuild a nation, and to realize the goals of development that will once again give every boy and girl in this country a chance to fulfill his or her God-given potential," she added.

From the beginning of her 11-day, seven-nation Africa tour, Clinton has stressed, in audiences large and small and in large chambers and dusty streets, her belief in enhanced democracy, good governance, economic development, improved food security, and the role of women and women's empowerment in society as critical to sub-Saharan Africa's future. She reminded audiences at many of her stops that the future of Africa is up to Africans, which echoed a speech weeks earlier by President Obama in Ghana.

"The future of Liberia is up to the Liberians," she said to applause from the legislators. "It is also true that there are paths toward that future which will lead in a positive direction, and there are others that will lead in a negative direction. The choices that are made every day will determine which path Liberia chooses."

Clinton began her tour August 4 in Nairobi, Kenya, for the Eighth African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum and ended August 14 with a brief visit to Cape Verde and consultations with Prime Minister Jose Maria Pereira Neves.

Before her speech to the National Legislature, Clinton held talks with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her Cabinet. After speaking to legislators, Clinton addressed a class of new cadets for the Liberia National Police, the force charged with safeguarding Liberians and upholding the rule of law throughout the country.

Throughout her African tour, Clinton has conferred with leaders, legislators and government officials, but she has also met directly with the people, and especially African women, which reflects the dual purpose of her trip.

Clinton told the legislators that there is an agenda ahead for the United States and Africa, and she and Obama stand ready to continue to offer assistance to achieve the goals in that agenda.

The first of these goals, she said, is to build strong, democratic institutions, free of the graft and corruption that often undermine and erode the faith of the people. Democracies, she said, must be accountable and deliver results. Africa needs more strong institutions, but not more strongmen, she said, again echoing Obama's Ghana speech.

"Ending corruption is necessary to growing and sustaining such institutions and restoring the public's trust," Clinton said. "We are committed to supporting you as you move forward on this positive, progressive agenda."

A transcript of Clinton's remarks to the Liberian National Legislature is available at http://www.africom.mil/getArticle.asp?art=3302.
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