Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan has disclosed that the Government and People of the People’s Republic of China have donated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Liberia US$320,000 for the construction of a diplomatic lounge. According to a Foreign Ministry release, the lounge will be situated at the Roberts International Airport (RIA), a few miles from Monrovia, capital city of Liberia.
The amount, which is provided in Chinese Yuan (2 million), is being committed through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China.
According to Foreign Min. Ngafuan, the amount is going to be directly donated to his Ministry so that it can carry out the project, since in fact all diplomatic and foreign missions’ issues are supervised by his ministry.
The Liberian Foreign Minister said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will coordinate with the Chinese Embassy near Monrovia and the management of the RIA for the implementation of this project.
“So President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf joins the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in thanking [Foreign Minister Wang] Yi for this generous donation,” Mr. Ngafuan said.
Foreign Minister Ngafuan spoke yesterday, August 9, during a press stakeout in the Foyer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs following several meetings between the delegation of the visiting Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs and that of the Liberian Government.
The Minister also took the time to praise the strong bilateral ties that exist between Liberia and China and to thank his Chinese counterpart for the visit to Liberia.
According to Minister Ngafuan, the Chinese Foreign Minister’s visit to Liberia was meant to demonstrate China’s continual solidarity with the Government and people of Liberia and to access China’s cooperation and support to Ebola-hit nations.
Earlier, he stated that Foreign Minister Wang and delegation’s visit is for them to see “first hand progress achieved thus far in the post-Ebola recovery effort of the Government of Liberia and to exchange views on the challenges to the recovery process as well as explore means for the consolidation of the relationship.”
Minister Ngafuan said before he and Foreign Minister Wang had come to address the press in the Foyer of the Foreign Ministry, Mr. Wang and delegation had met with President Sirleaf and officials of the Liberian Government and they had “fruitful and mutually rewarding discussions with Min. Wang and his high-powered delegation on areas that are critical to not only development of Liberia but to the advancement of the strong diplomatic ties between our two countries.”
According to Min. Ngafuan, President Sirleaf described Min. Wang’s two-day visit “as an authentication of the strength of the mutually beneficial relationship between our two countries.” He further added that the visit has given a new stimulus to both nations’ already strong relationship.
The Liberian Foreign Minister praised China’s role in Liberia’s fight against the deadly Ebola virus disease.
“China came to Liberia when we were bedridden as a result of the Ebola crisis and they helped us to get back to our feet and they are helping us now to run faster and catch up,” he added.
He stated that the post-conflict and development story of Liberia would be incomplete if the tremendous contributions of China are not given significant chapters.
He said China has committed itself to expediting the already agreed projects, including the US$60 million Ministerial Complex, which when completed will house not less than 10 ministries, an annex to the National Legislature and all other projects.
According to a Foreign Ministry release, Min. Ngafuan further stated that China has agreed to also help with the building of human resource capacity and infrastructure development.
In that line, the Foreign Minister disclosed that China has agreed to increase the annual scholarship it provides for Liberians to study in China from 15 to 40.
He among other things further stated that China promised to help Liberia establish, including steel plant that will provide more job creation for Liberians.
The Minister thanked both the Chinese Ambassador to Liberia, Mr. Zhang Yue and Liberia’s Ambassador to China, Mr. D. McKinley Thomas and all others, who worked hard to the deal fruitful.
For his part, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said though Liberia was hit hardest among the three West African worst-hit by the deadly virus, but under the strong the leadership of President Sirleaf and with the solidarity of the Liberian people, Liberia has successfully before the first country to end the Ebola epidemic. He added: “I think Liberia as a country and nation has miraculously stood up from the hospital bed. I believe you have emerged stronger from this crisis.”
Mr. Wang said he had come to congratulate Liberians and to hold discussions on specific ways to enhance the bilateral relations between both nations.
He stated that in both countries’ battle against the virus, they cooperated fully and both sides have come to realize that each side is a reliable partner.
He further said that after holding talks with President Sirleaf and other government officials, they are prepared to help Liberia in its social and economic development needs.
He stressed that China will not attached any political conditions or impose any requests on any African nation that they help.
Foreign Minister Wang said their future corporation will focus on infrastructure development, adding that they will encourage China’s companies to take more active part in Liberia’s resources development.
He disclosed that he and the Liberian side reached a consensus on all the development areas during their meetings.
Responding to a question about Liberia being closely tied to the US and with China coming in to help, how can such corporation be maintained, Foreign Minister Wang said China was open to Liberia in all areas. He gave one as example in which he said that both China and the United States have agreed to renovate the Roberts International Airport. Mr. Wang said such corporation can be explored in many other areas in Liberia.
He departed Liberia for Guinea, which is the last leg of his three-nation African tour before he heads back to China. His first stop was in Sierra Leone.