During the week, several foreign ambassadors trooped to the Liberian leader President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s Foreign Ministry office to present their letters of credence on behalf of their respective countries.
The Liberian leader received the Letters of Credence from nine new Ambassadors accredited to Liberia.
Earlier those who presented their letters of credence include Ms. Patricia McCullagh, Ambassador of Canada and Abdellahi El Vilaly, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania with residence in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire; Ms. Pirjo Soumela-Chowdhury, Ambassador of the Republic of Finland with residence in Abuja, Nigeria.
Others are Babikir Elsiddig Mohammed Elamin, Ambassador of the Republic of Sudan; Emmanuel Mehl, Ambassador of the State of Israel and Mrs. Mari de los Angeles Aguirre, Ambassador of Mexico with residence in Accra, Ghana.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf received the Ambassadors at separate ceremonies at her Foreign Ministry office yesterday, November 26.
She expressed appreciation on behalf of the Liberian Government and people for the “excellent and cordial relations subsisting between these countries and Liberia, and for elevating the respective bilateral relations to another level.
President Sirleaf said the long-standing and cherished relationship Liberia enjoys with the six countries have translated into strategic partnerships and has enabled the countries to pursue genuine cooperation for mutual benefits and the enrichment of the well-being and prosperity of the various countries and peoples.
On the latest Ebola outbreak, President Sirleaf assured the diplomats that it is well contained, as it only affected one family. “We believe we have the capacity to contain this virus and this is going to be another example of us proving to the world that we now can manage it,” she assured.
Presenting her Letters of Credence earlier, Canadian Ambassador, Ms. Patricia McCullagh, expressed delight about the excellent relations between the two countries over time. “We share a number of the same values and interests in global peace and security ensuring poverty reduction globally which you’ve continued to be an advocate, including the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals,” she said.
In terms of economic growth, Ambassador McCullagh said, in spite of quite significant setbacks in the country, there are opportunities that Canada is interested in especially the extractive and other sectors; admitting that the private sector needs to be reinvigorated and will provide jobs for the youthful population.
On deepening the relationship, the new Canadian Ambassador recalled how they have been working for the causes of maternal, new born, child health and education which her government supports in Liberia.
As for the new Ambassador of Mauritania, Mohammed Abdellah El Vilaly, said he was confident that with President Sirleaf’s good work and vision for the country, his tenure here in Liberia will be a success. He looked forward to consolidating the relations between the two countries.
Ms. Pirjo Soumela-Chowdhury, Ambassador of Finland, said though there may not be so many business relations between Liberia and Finland now, there is a lot of potential as many Finnish companies would like to invest in Liberia in the areas of energy, infrastructure, health, modernizing administration, digitalization, among others. She hoped the relations with Liberia will intensify with time and reach another level during her tenure; noting that her embassy in this region is promoting business relations.
She disclosed the appointment of a new Honorary Consul to Liberia, Marlelen Vesikko, who also heads the Finnish Refugee Council in Liberia and the opening of a consulate here in Monrovia.
The Ambassador of the Republic of Sudan to Liberia, Babikir Elsiddig Mohammed Elamin, Sudan’s first Ambassador accredited near this capital since the administration of President Sirleaf, said Liberia has always been a source of hope and inspiration, and expressed his admiration at the way the country was able to defeat the Ebola virus disease, in which one of his compatriots working with the UN Mission in Liberia succumbed. He was optimistic that Liberia would overcome this disease and move on with the process of development.
For his part, the new Israeli Ambassador to Liberia, Emmanuel Mehl said he was extremely excited to be presenting his Letters of Credence to one of the two oldest countries on the continent. He said Liberia for him is not just another country but one of the two countries on the African continent, including Ethiopia that symbolizes “liberty”.
He said he will ensure that the relationship with Liberia will graduate to another level. “We will look for the various fields in energy, medicine, agriculture, education, and what else is needed where we can do the best for Liberia,” he assured.
The Mexican Ambassador to Liberia, Mrs. Mari de los Angeles Aguirre, for her part, said though both countries have had diplomatic relations spanning 40 years next year and a great occasion to celebrate, it is also an opportunity to search for new possibilities to strengthen the relations.
The last three batch of ambassadors who also presented their letters of credence to the Liberian leader included Her Excellency Ms. Tove Degnbol, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark with residence in Accra, Ghana; His Excellency Mr. Mohammed Fadel Khalaf, Ambassador of the State of Kuwait with residence in Dakar, Senegal and His Excellency Mr. Vanapalan Punjanathan Moodley, Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa with residence near Monrovia.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader, while receiving the three Ambassadors at separate ceremonies at her Foreign Ministry office on Friday, November 27, welcomed the esteemed diplomats to the country and expressed appreciation on behalf of the Government and people for the excellent and cordial relations subsisting between these countries and Liberia.
In separate remarks, the Liberia President updated the three new Ambassadors on the current situation in the country beginning with the administration’s five year development plan, the “Agenda for Transformation (AFT)”, aimed at supporting nearly all of the pillars of Liberia’s long term development plan, Vision 2030. She acknowledged the three countries support in various areas particularly infrastructure, health, education, security and gender.
She indicated that as Liberia was well on the path of economic stability when Ebola struck. “As we began to recount our gains, Ebola struck and began to invalidate the progress made over the years,” the Liberian President noted.
President Sirleaf, once again, used the opportunity to express thanks and appreciation to all the partners including the three countries for standing alongside Liberia in confronting the huge challenges prompted by the Ebola virus disease.
She stressed that the disease had a grave impact on the country’s development drive and the economy and informed the diplomats that a post-Ebola recovery plan has been developed to mitigate the economic challenges, rebuild the health sector and what we had already achieved over the years.
President Sirleaf assured the three diplomats that the current Ebola outbreak that has hit the country is well under control. “We believe we have the capacity to contain this virus and this is going to be another example of us proving to the world that we now can manage it,” she assured. She disclosed that health authorities are expected to bring in some trial vaccines earlier used in Sierra Leone and Guinea to be administered to those most at risk, notably health workers who again have become affected by the virus.
The Liberian leader also disclosed that at team from the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions is expected in Liberia shortly to investigate reasons for the continuous flare up of the disease in the country.
She highlighted that private sector partnership will be highly encouraged and anticipated to aid the recovery process as well as diversify the economy.
Presenting her Letters of Credence earlier, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark to Liberia, Her Excellency Ms. Tove Degnbol, expressed thanks for the warm welcome extended her by President Sirleaf and stressed that time has come for the two countries to look at other types of partnerships where the private sector will be very actively involved. She mentioned the Danish company, APM Terminals, which is actively involved in the development process especially at the Freeport of Monrovia.
She indicated that other private sector companies are ready to engage and explore possibilities in Liberia especially in the energy and agro-industry sectors. “I think there is a basis for a new type of partnership also on top of partnerships with international non-governmental and humanitarian organizations which will continue,” Ambassador Degnbol said.
For his part, the new Ambassador of the State of Kuwait, His Excellency Mr. Mohammed Fadel Khalaf said he was delighted to serve as his country’s top diplomat to Liberia and reaffirmed his commitment to ensure that cooperation between the two countries will be strengthened and elevated to a new level. “I am delighted today to magnify the relationships shared by Liberia and the State of Kuwait and the growing exchanges between the two countries through the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development,” he said.
He highlighted the recent appointment of the State of Kuwait as the humanitarian country and the Amir of Kuwait as humanitarian personality, which will undoubtedly facilitate the implementation of development projects of vital importance in Africa.
He praised Liberia for the record it set on the continent in the fight against the Ebola virus disease and underscored the assistance of the Amir of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabeh who provided US$5 million to the World Health Organization for the eradication of the disease from the region.
The new Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa to Liberia, His Excellency Mr. Vanapalan Punjanathan Moodley expressed his gratitude for the role that Liberia played in his country’s liberation struggle.
Going forward, he emphasized that both governments should look at what they can do to enhance cooperation between the peoples of both South Africa and Liberia. “It would be important for us to look at what economic developments and benefits we could get for both countries to alleviate the burden of unemployment, particularly amongst the young,” he said.
Ambassador Moodley said his country has great potential to invest in Liberia and during his tenure, together with colleagues and business partners in South Africa, they will endeavor to pursue those avenues to make some inroads so that Liberia benefits. “We would be happy to assist where possible with technical expertise and other resources in an attempt to achieve your Vision 2030 as well as our development plan,” he promised, stressing that together with Liberia, they would want to champion continental peace and pursue the silencing of guns by 2020. He also stressed that he would like to pursue issues on gender and gender emancipation.
“We are here to support, assist and facilitate better economic and people to people relations with Liberia,” he assured.