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The top U.S. diplomat to Liberia used his Fourth of July speech to urge the West African nation to fight corruption and adopt some of the principles enshrined in the America’s Declaration of Independence.

“You have identified the need for strong and effective governance that will prevent the nation’s wealth from being diverted for personal gains,” Michael Arietti, the embassy’s charge d’affaires, told Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. “Fighting corruption will take time, but it is critical for economic growth.”

Liberia is recovering from more than two decades of civil war that ended with a 2003 peace deal.

Mr. Arietti also praised Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf for policies aimed at “changing minds and attitudes so that Liberians can see that unity reconciliation, love of country, work ethics are all a necessary part of building a nation.”

“This is where I believe the example of the United States of America can be helpful,” he said.

“Our Declaration of Independence underlined that each person should be able to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We are a nation that takes pride in its diversity and which prizes the individual.”

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