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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 February 2007, 23:55 GMT
China's leader boosts Liberia aid
Chinese President Hu Jintao (left) shakes hands with his Liberian counterpart Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf after opening an anti-malaria prevention centre
Presidents Hu (left) and Johnson-Sirleaf opened an anti-malaria clinic
Chinese President Hu Jintao has signed a number of agreements with Liberia in Monrovia, pledging more aid and investment to the West African nation.

The deals included the cancellation of $10m (5m) of Liberia's debt to China and waiving duties on Liberian exports.

Mr Hu also promised to help Liberia - which is still recovering from a long civil war - tackle malaria and assist in education and agriculture.

The president, who is on a African tour, is visiting Sudan on Friday.

Mr Hu and his Liberian counterpart, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, signed a memorandum of understanding during their talks in Monrovia.

It included the formal signing away of $10m debt owed to Beijing.

"Also China has decided to give to Liberia within two years... $25m (13m)," Liberian Information Minister Lawrence Bropleh said.

The money will be spent on projects to help rebuilt Liberia, following the 1989-2003 civil war that ravaged the country.

On his part, President Hu was seeking to help his country access Liberia's raw materials, including iron ore, for the rapidly-expanding Chinese economy.

Mr Hu arrived in Liberia from Cameroon, where he had signed grants and loans worth around $100m.

From Liberia, Mr Hu heads for Sudan - a source of oil for China.

This is the most controversial of his eight-leg African tour, as the Sudanese government is accused of committing human-rights abuses in Darfur, the BBC's Will Ross in Monrovia says.

Beijing has so far backed the Sudanese refusal to accept UN peacekeepers in Darfur, our correspondent says.

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