Liberian Leader Receives Letters of Credence from New Swedish Ambassador, Egyptian Ambassador

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is encouraging more private sector investment in Liberia to drive economic recovery and the rebuilding of the country’s crumbling infrastructure.
 
“We primarily seek investments that would prioritize job creation, and sustain growth and development,” the Liberian leader said, noting that Sweden’s private sector is well positioned to play a pivotal role in this regard.
 
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf made these remarks when she received the Letters of Credence of the new Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Sweden to Liberia, Her Excellency Ms. Lena Nordström on Monday, October 19, 2015.
 
Ambassador Nordström replaces H.E. Sofia Strand, Sweden’s first resident Ambassador to post-conflict Liberia, who completed her tour of duty here recently.
 
The Liberian leader welcomed with much gratitude, Sweden’s interim plan to provide expertise and financing for business development in Liberia, partnering with the private section in order to jointly pursue development projects with shared goals and values.
 
She acknowledged with appreciation that the Swedish Government’s new strategy, soon to be approved, is intended to guide both countries’ partnership for the next five years.
 
The Liberian leader welcomed the renewed commitment of the Swedish Government to collaborate with Liberia in areas deemed very significant to the country’s recovery process including: peace-building and security, democracy and human rights, agriculture, gender based-violence, as well as the Swedish Government’s Feminist-oriented Foreign Policy; adding, “As an advocate of women’s rights, I yearn for the practical implementation of the Swedish Government’s Feminist-oriented Foreign Policy.”
 
Concerning the enhancement of peace and security in Liberia, President Sirleaf informed the new Swedish Ambassador that her Government is making frantic efforts in its attempt to buttress international endeavors aimed at addressing present and future security concerns, especially in the wake of the UNMIL drawdown.
 
She named the “The Liberia National Police (LNP) Act of 2015” and “The Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) Act of 2015” respectively, recently submitted to the National Legislature for timely enactment into law.
 
President Sirleaf also shared with the new Ambassador steps her government has undertaken since her administration especially its development agenda. “In order to continue  and sustain the rebuilding of a foundation for a better Liberia, not only did we endeavor to sustain the peace and tranquility for more than a decade, we also embarked on reform initiatives including the launching of our development vision called “Vision 2030”, the Agenda for Transformation, the implementation of the New Deal for fragile states, the National Policy on Decentralization, the adoption of a concession framework, the integrated Public Financial Management Reform Project, the National Reconciliation Roadmap, amongst others,” she catalogued, adding, “These and many more confirmed that we were on the right trajectory, concerning our recovery program, until Ebola struck the nation in 2014.”
 
The Liberian leader thanked Sweden for standing by Liberia’s side during the fight against Ebola in Liberia and the region; noting that with the support that they received from the international community including Sweden, coupled with the resilience of our people, the fight against the deadly Ebola Virus in Liberia was finally won.
 
She expressed congratulations for Ambassador Nordström preferment and warmly welcomed her to Liberia; emphasizing that the very excellent ties that both countries enjoy have transcended ordinary bonds of friendship and have formed the basis for the convergence of perspectives on a number of key international issues including: peace and security, human rights, climate change, among others; signifying the deepening of our relations and cooperation.
 
For her part, Ambassador Nordström confirmed that the relationship between both countries has grown stronger and her task is to make sure that they become broader and stronger,
 
She indicated that development cooperation continues to be an important aspect of the relations between Sweden and Liberia and her government will soon approve a new strategy that will guide the partnership between both countries over the next five years. The bilateral allocation will remain around US$32 million annually.
 
Highlighting some areas of collaboration, the new Swedish Ambassador named peacebuilding and security, democracy and human rights, agriculture and economic development and gender equality including gender-based violence. “This signifies that Sweden remains a committed partner to Liberia,” she said.
 
One of the priorities of the Swedish Government, Ambassador Nordström named is a Feminist Foreign Policy; noting that the rights of women are fundamental for the preservation of peace and security in our world. “The Feminist Foreign Policy is the Swedish way of contributing to making sure that women’s voices are always heard, that women’s participation is always guaranteed and that women are economically empowered,” she said, adding further, “This is not only done through a program in development cooperation but it is the lense through which the Swedish Government will assess, analyze and act in our international interactions.”
 
Before her appointment to Liberia in September 2015, the new Swedish Ambassador to Liberia served as her country Ambassador to Zambia and was also accredited to COMESA from November 2011 to September 2015.
 
In a related development,President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has received the Letters of Credence from the new Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Arab Republic of Egypt to Liberia, His Excellency Mr. Alaa Khaira Issa.
 
According to an Executive Mansion release, His Excellency Mr. Alaa Khaira Issa presented his Letters of Credence to the Liberian leader at a formal ceremony at the temporary Office of the President at the Foreign Ministry on Monday, October 19, 2015.
 
Receiving his Letters of Credence, President Sirleaf said she was pleased to officially welcome Ambassador Issa to the country as he embarks on his new assignment. “It is my ardent hope that your coming will help us fulfill your government’s commitment to the dynamic partnership with Liberia, and further energize and cement the already flourishing relationship of cordiality and friendship which subsist between our two countries,” she said.
 
She recalled that Liberia and Egypt have enjoyed a cherished relationship spanning nearly 60 years. She highlighted Egypt’s assistance to Liberia prior to the country’s civil war when in 1965, Liberia and Egypt signed the first Technical Agreement by which Liberians benefitted from various training programs provided by the Egyptian Government in the areas of manpower development, especially agriculture, health and education.
 
Due to our many years of conflict, the Agreement was interrupted. However, the Liberian leader expressed delight that this relationship has been reactivated and strengthened.
 
President Sirleaf noted Egypt’s continued assistance in the education and health sectors, especially providing scholarships for students to study in Egypt as well as with doctors serving at the Jackson F. Doe Referral Hospital in Tappita, Nimba County.
 
“We really would like to see this relationship deepened and strengthened,” she said, noting their collaboration in different organizations including the United Nations, African Union, Africa Islamic Movements, among others.
 
She again urged the new Egyptian Ambassador to forge collaboration in the private sector because this sector is the engine of growth. “We’ll like to see business people of both countries work together and encourage investment and other ways where both governments and peoples can collaborate,” she appealed.
 
President Sirleaf assured that the Government will work with the new Ambassador to build upon the successes both countries have jointly attained in Liberia-Egypt relations; as well as to strengthen mutual trust between the two governments and peoples; expand mutually beneficial cooperation in trade, investment, commerce, and technical assistance; and strengthen education, knowledge-sharing and cultural interchange.
 
In response, the new Egyptian Ambassador reiterated the long standing relationship that subsists between both countries. “The bonds between our countries are not recent. They emanate from the ideals of independence from foreign domination, liberty of the people, and dignity of the individual.
 
“It is from this shared history and commitment to the fundamental principles of independence, liberty and dignity that relations between our peoples came to be and representation between our nations was established,” he emphasized, adding, “The commitment of Egypt to preserve its relations with the proud people of Liberia is absolute, whether in times of prosperity or turmoil and I am honored to be the envoy of President El Sisi to this great nation, the oldest independent state on the African continent.”

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