26 June 2012

Liberia: EU Launches Political Dialogue

The Managing Director for Africa in the European External Action Service (EEAS) Dr. Nick Westcott has launched a structured and regular political dialogue between the European Union (EU) and Liberia, as set out in article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement, marking a major step forward in EU's relations with Liberia.

Dr. Westcott led an EU delegation composed of Attilio Pacifici, Head of Delegation, and four EU Heads of Mission permanently represented in here (France, Germany, Sweden and the UK) on Thursday June 21 in a first consultation with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and senior government ministers.

According to a press release from the EU offices near Monrovia, a political dialogue gives both partners a forum to raise a whole range of internal and external issues.

Subjects discussed with the President included the political reconciliation process, strengthening of institutions of democracy, development priorities, and regional issues, including challenges for ECOWAS and the African Union such as the crisis in Mali and other parts of the fragile region of West Africa.

The EU pledged continued support for regional integration, and the real advantages offered by an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU were also discussed. Future development support was also discussed with the Liberian President. Later this year, discussions will begin on EU's development assistance to Liberia up to 2020, which will focus on supporting Vision 2030 and Liberia's second Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS).

The political dialogue between the EU and Liberia will continue in a structured and regular manner and will be coordinated on the Liberian side by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Augustine Ngafuan.

During his two-day working visit to Liberia to gain deeper insights into Liberian politics, economics, security and development issues, Dr Westcott also held meetings with several Government ministers, the President Pro-Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chairman of the Governance Commission, the Acting Chairperson of the National Elections Commission, representatives of opposition parties, and civil society and media representatives.

Dr Westcott has also interacted with Heads of Mission from the EU, Africa and the United States, the Officer-in-Charge of UNMIL and representatives from the African Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

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