Liberian Leader in Côte d’Ivoire For Joint Chiefs, Elders Meeting

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her Ivorian counterpart, Alassane Ouattara, are expected to join other delegates for the meeting of the Joint Council of Chiefs and Elders convening in Guiglo, an Ivorian town near the border with Liberia.

According to an Executive Mansion press release, President Sirleaf arrived in Abidjan, the Ivorian capital, Sunday to join her Ivorian counterpart for the meeting.

It is expected to be an historic moment in stamping a deal that will ensure sustainable peace and co-existence of peoples culturally engrossed although residing on either side of the borders in Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire.

The release said the meeting is aimed at continuing the dialogue and consultations launched by the two countries in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County nearly three years ago.

The hosting of the dialogue was one of the many decisions contained in a Communique signed between the two countries during President Sirleaf’s two-day working visit to Ivory Coast at the invitation of her counterpart, President Ouattara, from April 26 to 27, 2015.

In October 2013, several hundred traditional chiefs and elders from bordering communities in Grand Gedeh, Nimba, Maryland and River Gee Counties in Liberia, as well as those from Guiglo, Danané, Tabou and Tai in Ivory Coast held a four-day meeting in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County.

The objective was to improve relations between and among inter-regional and Trans-border groups, including the chiefs and elders; undertake an inclusive dialogue platform responsive to the peace, security and reconciliation needs of all the citizens, particularly those in the border communities.

Also attending that meeting were authorities from the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), as well as government officials of the two countries.

The Liberian leader was met on arrival by Ivoirian officials, including President Alassane Quattara, Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan, Foreign Minister Charles Koffi Diby, members of the Ivorian Cabinet, the diplomatic corps and a host of traditional leaders.

In brief remarks on arrival, President Sirleaf lauded the longstanding cooperation between both countries which, she said, remains tied to a culturally rich bond of mutual respect and understanding.

She thanked President Quattara for not only consenting to host the 2nd Meeting of the Joint Council of Chiefs and Elders which first took place in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, but ensuring that it became a reality.

Both countries have agreed to strengthen security by ensuring increased cooperation and establishing reliable mechanisms capable of guaranteeing more effective security in the border region.

In this regard, the two Heads of State have expressed willingness to pursue cooperation and complete various ongoing integration projects, especially electrical interconnection and completion of ongoing road projects from Blolequin to Toulepleu, Logatuo to Danane/Geunta, and the Taboo to Prollo along the borders.

-LINA-

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