From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, US Ambassador assures Support to Media & Civil Society
By Augustine Samba
Oct 4, 2010, 12:38

The newly assigned United States Ambassador to Sierra Leone, H.E. Michael S. Owen has said that his country remains committed to supporting the Sierra Leoneís media through trainings, exchange programmes and other forms of assistance. The Ambassador gave this assurance while addressing the press last Friday, 1st October 2010 at the American Embassy at Leicester, in Freetown, the first of his contact with the press since presenting his credentials to President Koroma the previous day, Thursday, 30th September instant.

Ambassador Owen described Sierra Leone as beautiful, and registered his readiness to work with the government, the media and civil society to build a very strong democratic base for the country. He maintained that Sierra Leone continues to be strong partner of the United States as the bilateral relationship stands for decades.

He commended Sierra Leone for its contribution to the maintenance of world peace with the participation of the country military in the United Nations Peacekeeping Missions around the world, a move he referred to as exemplary for a nation just emerging from a devastating eleven years of war. He assured that his country will ever remain as a steadfast partner to the people of Sierra Leone in their determination to ensure the safety and security of all nations.

"I will encourage the government of Sierra Leone to continue promoting good governance, improved economic management, consolidation of democratic institutions and the expansion of democratic values," he said, while further committing the United Nationís continued support to the development and expansion of good governance, food security and public health to the people of Sierra Leone. He also registered his governmentís appreciation of efforts made by the Government of Sierra Leone in its fight against HIV/AIDS and also assured that his governmentís enhanced collaboration in combating the spread HIV/AIDS.

On the protection of Sierra Leoneís marine resources, Ambassador Owen informed that the United States is devising a programme that bring onboard the commercial sector to ensure a profitable returns and this he stated, will include the oil and gas sectors.

He further expressed delight over the return of the American Peace Corps Volunteers to Sierra Leone after sixteen years absence, noting that their venture was a sure sign of mutual trust and respect between the two countries. Describing the Peace Corps Volunteers as ĎAmbassadors of the United Statesí he admonished them to have focus on that ideal as a way of fostering the bilateral relationship between the two countries. He encouraged the press, civil society and the people of Sierra Leone in general to accept the Peace Corps in their communities as they are in those communities not as experts, but to share ways of lives as of the two countries.

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