Bush Promises More Help for Liberia

President Bush is offering more help to the young democratically-elected government of Liberia. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports he spoke after talks at the White House with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The agenda for their half-hour meeting focused on areas where the United States can help further progress in Liberia.

President Bush says the United State is supporting international debt relief, and efforts to provide education and health services. He says Liberia will get extra help from a special U.S. program to fight malaria.

"That initiative will mean spreading nets and insecticides throughout the country so that we can see a reduction in death in young children," Mr. Bush said.

Also heading to Liberia will be the first Peace Corps volunteers to serve in that country in years. They stayed away during the country's decade-long civil war.

"The Peace Corps has been in touch with our State Department and the Liberia folks and it looks like we are going to get some teams very quickly back into Liberia," Mr. Bush said. "And the reason why we feel comfortable doing that is because of the leadership of this strong person right here."

This meeting marked the third time President Bush has welcomed President Sirleaf to the White House since her inauguration in January 2006.

She was elected following the bloody tenure of former President Charles Taylor. He is being tried for war crimes by a U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone.

President Sirleaf says her country continues to face many challenges, but progress is being made. She says American help has made the difference.

"Overall, we are so pleased with the relationship," Mrs. Sirleaf said. "Liberians are very proud that you are one of the first ones who set us on this road to peace and the progress we have today."

The Liberian leader says her country wants to rise up from the ashes of war and become a post-conflict success story.