H.E. Ms. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia was on a State visit to India from 9th to 11th September, 2013. Chairman OIA, Ambassador VB Soni was actively involved in two important functions connected with the visit. He was one of the few selectedguests at a formal ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan for presentation of Indira Gandhi Prize for peace, Disarmament & Development to her for 2012 by President of India. The ceremony in Durbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhavan was attended by such high signatories as Vice President, Prime Minister of India and Smt. Sonia Gandhi as Chairperson of the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust.
During the visit of the President an India-Liberia business meeting was held on September 11, 2013. Ambassador Soni who is Chairman of the Gulf and Arab Business Promotion Council of ASSOCHAM received and greeted the Liberian President and made welcome remarks. In it he mentioned about her being a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peaceand many more accolades. Specific mention was made by him about her being a serving example and an inspiration for many women in Africa and beyond but also for bringing peace and reconciliation after the country went through a long fratricidal war, democracy and development.
Ambassador Soni mentioned about the growing economic and trade relations with Liberia and talked about the visit of an important business delegation in April, 2013 which he had the honour to lead. He said there was tremendouspotentialfor increasing economic and commercial relationship for the two counties. Her visit will provide the push for the purpose. Full text of his remarks can be accessed separately on OIA website.