President Obama still plans to convene a three-day summit in Washington for leaders of African countries even though the continent is experiencing an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, a White House spokesman said Wednesday.
“We have no plans to change any elements of the U.S.-Africa summit as we believe all air travel continues to be safe here,” principal deputy press secretary Eric Schultz told reporters aboard Air Force One on Wednesday.
The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit is scheduled for Monday through Wednesday of next week. The White House is billing the event as the first such gathering of its kind.
“At its core, this Summit is about fostering stronger ties between the United States and Africa,” reads the Obama administration website about the event.
Obama has issued invitations for the summit to leaders in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone — the three countries experiencing the Ebola outbreak.
Schultz said the White House is continuing to monitor the Ebola outbreak closely. He said the president is aware that two Americans in Africa have been infected.
Schultz downed played any concerns. “As the CDC has said, this is not a risk to the U.S. at this time,” he said.
Officials in both the United States and in African countries are on high-alert.
Because of the highly-contagious disease, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has announced that certain borders of the country will be closed until the outbreak stops.