Clinton, Merkel head list for Women's Day meet

3rd March 2009, Comments 0 comments

The gathering on Saturday and Sunday in Monrovia, which will also be attended by Nelson Mandela's wife Graca Machel, will focus on the future of women in the world.

Monrovia -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are among 400 leading women, several of them heads of state, expected at a massive Women's Day meet this weekend in Liberia.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf announced the gathering on Monday and said she was looking forward to hosting Clinton, Merkel, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Finnish President Tarja Halonen among others.

The gathering on Saturday and Sunday in Monrovia, which will also be attended by Nelson Mandela's wife Graca Machel, will focus on the future of women in the world, according to a statement from the Liberian presidency.

"It is more than a conference. It is a historic milestone for us as a nation. Hosting this big gathering of people from all over the world is an indication of how far our country has come," the statement said.

It represents a huge moment for Liberia which, following a devastating 1989-2003 civil war, has not seen such a high-profile event since playing host in 1979 to a summit of the Organisation of African Unity, the predecessor to the African Union.

Presidents Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal and Paul Kagame of Rwanda are also to attend what will be this year's main event to mark Women's Day.

Nearly 100 years old and held annually on March 8, the day is used to mark the worldwide struggle for equal rights for half the globe's population as well as to celebrate women's economic, political and social achievements.

AFP/Expatica

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