LISCR Welcomes International Support for Liberia's Recovery

Thursday, February 12, 2004
The Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR), the US-headquartered operator of the Liberian ship register, has welcomed pledges of international support - many of them from major shipowning nations - for the reconstruction of Liberia. At the International Reconstruction Conference on Liberia, held at United Nations Headquarters in New York last week, a total of $520 million was pledged to help Liberia meet a host of reconstruction and humanitarian needs over the next two years. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the two-day meeting that Liberia had arrived at a moment of hope, and that the conference was meant to demonstrate international solidarity with Liberia at a decisive moment. US Secretary of State Colin Powell, meanwhile, in describing the United States as "Liberia's best and oldest friend," said peace in Liberia was critical to peace and well-being throughout West Africa. "The United States will stand by Liberia," promised Powell. Tom Kitt, EU Minister of State for Development Co-operation and Human Rights, said the European Union would not be found wanting in its support. Government ministers from France, Sweden, the UK and Japan were also among those who pledged their support to help the recovery, reconstruction and long-term development of Liberia. And a spokesman for the World Bank said that Liberia was setting out to create a culture of transparency, accountability and inclusion. G Gyude Bryant, Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia, assured the meeting that the country's limited resources would go towards the purpose for which they were intended, and that his government was committed to putting transparency and accountability mechanisms in place. At a Washington, DC luncheon reception at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill hosted by LISCR, Bryant revealed that his Government, since its incumbency last October, had received almost $5.5m in ship registration fees under the maritime programme. The maritime funds had allowed the Government of Liberia to pay in full all the salaries outstanding to Liberian civil servants. He concluded, "We want to assure all those concerned, including governments and organisations, the United Nations, and those shipowners whose support is so essential, that funds paid to Liberia through the Maritime and Corporate Registry programme will be properly accounted for through proper checks and balances, including audits by reputable international accounting firms, and used for the development and other legitimate programmes of the Government of Liberia." Yoram Cohen, ceo of LISCR, speaking at the luncheon said, "The Liberian Registry, as well as being an important contributor to world trade, is the heritage of the Liberian people, one that provides Liberia with international standing. It deserves the continuing support of shipowners who appreciate the reality of the situation and the contribution they can make to Liberia's return to stability and democracy. "LISCR welcomes confirmation of the UN-backed Transitional Government's commitment to transparency and accountability. This commitment in support of the strong ship register, which has been properly administered by LISCR, can only augur well for the long-term recovery of Liberia and its people to democracy, prosperity and peace."
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