President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has challenged Liberian refugees in Cote d’Ivoire to prepare to return home and participate in the reconstruction of their country.
Speaking at a welcome and thank you program held in her honor at the Liberian Embassy in Abidjan, President said: “I hope you all are here acquiring skills that you can bring back home when you decide to return. We need all the skills and education to build our country.”
Responding to a request by the president of the Liberian community in Côte d’Ivoire, Mr. Alexander Watson, for assistance to construct a headquarters for Liberians in Abidjan, President Sirleaf said even though she will review their request, it was not her desire to institutionalize refugee life but rather look forward to seeing Liberians return home and help rebuild the country.
She thanked the president of the Liberian Association in Côte d’Ivoire for his kind words about Liberians and her administration.
President Johnson Sirleaf assured the Liberians that the issue of the reopening of the border with Cote d’Ivoire will be addressed with her counterpart as part of her mission to that neighboring country.
The Liberian leader then presented an amount of US$10,000 for the celebration of this year’s independence anniversary by the Liberian community in Cote d’Ivoire.
In his “Thank You” message earlier, Liberian community president Watson appealed for assistance to ensure the biggest Independence Anniversary celebrations ever in the history of Liberians residing in Côte d’Ivoire as well as mobility to reach Liberians wherever they may be in Côte d’Ivoire.
Mr. Watson also called on the Liberian President to prevail on her counterpart, President Allasane Ouattara, to reopen the Ivorian side of the border to ensure the free movement of goods and people across both countries.