The Governments of Liberia and Turkey have signed three Framework Agreements to enhance the bilateral relations between both countries. The agreements are in the areas of Education, Reciprocal Waiver of Visas for Holders of Diplomatic Passports and an agreement for collaboration between the Diplomatic Institutes of Liberia and Turkey.
Liberia’s Foreign Minister H.E. Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan signed on behalf of the Government of Liberia while the Foreign Minister of Turkey H.E. Ahmet Davutoglu signed on behalf of the Government of Turkey at a ceremony held on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at the Turkish Foreign Ministry in the Turkish capital, Ankara.
Speaking at a Joint Press Conference after the signing of the agreements, Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu described the signing of the agreements as a historic day for both countries.
“This is actually the first official ministerial visit on the basis of our bilateral relations; that is why the Government and People of Turkey attach all the importance to it”, the Turkish Foreign Minister remarked. He said the three agreements are the first in the series of cooperation’s agreements his country intends to sign with Liberia.
“Today with my dear friend, the Foreign Minister of Liberia, we have discussed the future and steps to be taken in terms of the relations between our both countries and we agreed on an action plan as well as taken action steps to make the three agreements a reality”, the Turkish Foreign Minister said.
Minister Davutoglu who accepted Minister Ngafuan’s invitation to visit Liberia at his earliest convenience also paid homage to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for her leadership role in African and World issues and hoped that the strengthening of bilateral relations will eventually pave the way for a visit of President Sirleaf, a Nobel Laureate, to Turkey.
For his part, Liberia’s Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan extended profound thanks and appreciation to his counterpart and the Government of Turkey for the warm invitation extended him and also conveyed greetings from Her Excellency Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, and the people of Liberia to His Excellency Mr. Abdullah Gül, President of the Republic of Turkey and the people of Turkey.
Foreign Minister Ngafuan said the signing of the agreements have given the bilateral relations between the two countries renewed vigor. “The Agreement on Mutual Visa Waiver is aimed at alleviating the hurdles our officials go through when traveling to our respective countries. The second is in the field of Education, which will lead to the exchange of students, teachers, and experts as well as the exchange of information and scientific publications in the field of both formal and informal education, amongst others.
The Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation between the Diplomatic Academies of both Countries will enhance the capacity building efforts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Liberia by linking its Foreign Service Institute (FSI) with the Diplomatic Institute of Turkey. This cooperation between our two diplomatic training institutes is significant because it will lead to many aspiring Liberian diplomats benefitting from advanced training at the Turkish Diplomatic Institute.”, the Liberian Foreign Minister narrated.
Minister Ngafuan revealed the Government of Liberia is in advanced stages of completing its review of proposed agreements on Trade, Security, and Air Services. “I am confident that these Agreements will be concluded and signed very soon, paving the way for the consolidation of our partnerships, especially the beginning of flights of Turkish Airlines, your world-renowned carrier reputed for its excellent service, to Liberia”.
Minister Ngafuan welcomed continued Turkish private sector investment in Liberia while also commending Turkey for its support to the city corporations of Monrovia and Paynesville.
Speaking about the recent shooting at a café in Istanbul which left many wounded including four Liberians who were shot in the legs, Minister Ngafuan said the incident aroused sensitivities in Liberia and had the potential of diverting attention from the many good developments that have characterized the bilateral relations between Turkey and Liberia. “But thanks to Minister Davutoglu and the Turkish Government for their intervention which has ensured that the victims receive adequate medical attention and security. We anticipate that the perpetrator(s) of this heinous crime will be arrested and brought to justice,” the Minister concluded.
Minister is in Turkey in honor of an invitation extended him in March of this year by his Turkish counterpart, H.E. Ahmet Davutoglu . Also on the Foreign Minister’s delegation to Turkey are Monrovia City Mayor, Clara Doe Mvogo, and Paynesville City Mayor Cyvette Gibson.
By: Horatio Bobby Willie – ASSISTANT MINISTER/PUBLIC AFFAIRS