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Liberia Reassures China of Lasting Partnership
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Five days following President Hu Jintao's state visit to Liberia on February 1, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on Tuesday night reassured lasting partnership between the two sides.


The Liberian leader spoke at a reception hosted by the Chinese Embassy to mark what the embassy described as a fruitful and successful visit of President Hu.


"Liberia is not asking China for assistance. We want strategic partnership based on mutual interest, recognizing the complexities that come out of a period of decline, destruction and violence," said President Sirleaf, referring to the country's 14 years of civil war and more than 20 years of social and political instability.


"I am convinced that China is prepared to be one of those strategic partners. The warm welcome Liberians showed towards President Hu's visit sends a clear message that Liberia is open to pursue those interests," she said.


"The visit enables us to cement our relationship and from what we know it will be a lasting friendship," she added. Earlier, Chinese Ambassador to Liberia Lin Songtian recalled that thousands of citizens, including students and teachers, friendly organizations as well as the local community had been mobilized and gathered along the 65-km route from the airport to downtown Monrovia from early morning till night to welcome President Hu when he arrived during the day and bid him farewell in the evening.


President Hu and his delegation "were deeply touched by the sincere friendship, strong hospitality and rousing welcome extended by the government and the people of Liberia," Lin said, adding the Chinese president has got a clear message from the Liberian side of the great expectation of sustainable peace, national recovery and development.


The visit by President Hu was no doubt "to strengthen the new type of strategic partnership between the two countries and the existing cordial friendship between the two people," Lin said.


The Chinese president had paid a one-day state visit to Liberia on February 1, as part of his eight-nation African tour.


Seven agreements were signed between the two governments ranging from economic and trade cooperation to education and health as well as debt waiver and budgetary support. Liberia and China resumed diplomatic ties in 2003.


(Xinhua News Agency February 8, 2007)

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