Corruption hampering Liberia: Clinton
Monrovia - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned on Monday that corruption in Liberia was hampering the war-torn nation's growth prospects, after attending President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's inauguration.
"Corruption is one of the roadblocks to greater prosperity here in Liberia," Clinton said after opening the new US embassy in Monrovia following Sirleaf's swearing-in ceremony.
She said she and Sirleaf had discussed the problem of corruption in private talks before the ceremony.
Clinton praised the west African nation's progress eight years after the end of a 14-year conflict which left some 250 000 dead.
"Democracy hasn't just sprouted in Liberia, it has taken root," she said.
"The real test of a democracy's strength isn't the first election - it's the second and the third and all the ones that follow. So seeing President Sirleaf re-elected in a free and fair contest is an exciting step forward for the Liberian people."
Clinton arrived on Monday morning in Liberia and was leaving in the afternoon for Ivory Coast on a whirlwind Africa trip which will also include Togo and Cape Verde.
The tour is "to demonstrate US commitment to post-conflict return to peace, good governance and economic development as well as to emphasize US focus on democratisation," state department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said.
In Ivory Coast, she will meet President Alassane Ouattara to "showcase our support for national reconciliation and strengthening democratic institutions" after the elections in December, Nuland said.
In Togo, Clinton, the first US secretary of state to visit that country, will meet President Faure Gnassingbe "to demonstrate US support for Togo’s democratic progress and economic reforms", Nuland said.
In Cape Verde, Clinton will meet Prime Minister Jose Maria Neves to discuss co-operation on regional issues like counter-narcotics, good governance, sound economic policies."