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Liberian President makes visit to U of MN

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia expressed a desire to see Liberians in the United States return to their homeland as part of a visit to the University of Minnesota on Friday, the Pioneer Press reported.

Speaking to an audience that included many Liberian-Americans among the several thousand at Northrop Auditorium, Sirleaf said that she would like to see Liberians begin to return to their country, while acknowledging that might not be universally possible, the Star Tribune reported.

Sirleaf, who was elected in 2006 as the first female leader of an African country, also said she supported President Barack Obama's extension of the time for Liberians living in the United States to maintain temporary status, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

Sirleaf highlighted the progress of Liberia coming out of a civil war, including improvements in infrastructure and public services, MPR reported.

Minnesota is home to one of the largest Liberian populations in the United States, which was part of what sparked excitement leading to Friday's event, the Pioneer Press reported.

After her speech, Sirleaf met with several Twin Cities leaders in the private and public sectors to discuss potential relationships with Liberia, the Star Tribune reported.