The Ambassador of Côte d'Ivoire, H. E. Kapieletien Soro, has presented his Letters of Credence to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at a ceremony held at the Foreign Ministry in Monrovia.
Speaking Friday, Sept 2, during the ceremony, the Liberian President underscored the long-standing ties which have existed between the two countries, ties which have been molded and deeply embedded in the culture, oral traditions, languages, geography and history of the two neighbors.
President Sirleaf recalled the effects of the conflicts in both countries and expressed delight that despite setbacks, the two have demonstrated good neighborliness by providing protection those seeking refuge and safety.
The President expressed delight that President Alassane Ouattara has undertaken the task of consolidating peace and tackling the daunting challenges of restoring security and promoting national reconciliation. Liberia, the President said, will stand shoulder to should with the Ivorian President and with the Government and people of Côte d'Ivoire in their post-conflict reconstruction and endeavors.
"The recent experience of conflict in the sub-region, and particularly within members of the Mano River Union, convinces us that some of the challenges facing our individual countries are much too complex to be tackled by each of us alone as a nation. We can better deal with these challenges by being true partners and good neighbors," the Liberian leader emphasized.
The President said it is in this connection that Liberia embraced and endorsed the recent Tripartite Agreement with Côte d'Ivoire and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) concerning Ivorian refugees in Liberia, now at nearly 150,000.
Referring to Liberia's upcoming legislative and presidential elections in October, President Johnson Sirleaf indicated that success in the elections "will help us close the chapter on our recent past of conflict and put us firmly on the path to recovery and sustainable development." She reiterated her assurances for free, fair and transparent elections that would be devoid of controversy.
The President again extended an invitation to Liberia's friends, well-wishers and the international community to "get involved at every step of the electoral process and send as many observers as possible." She also called on the country's neighbors to do all they can to ensure peace and security at the borders and contribute to smooth and peaceful elections in Liberia.
Responding, Ambassador Soro welcomed the opportunity to represent his country in Liberia. He promised to work diligently to strengthen the already strong bond of friendship between Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia. He assured the Liberian leader that his country is open to welcoming back home those who fled the crisis, as efforts continue towards national reconciliation.
Ambassador Soro extended best wishes from President Ouattara to the Liberian President and people and hoped for peaceful elections in Liberia.
The new Ivorian diplomat will be resident in Monrovia.