The Informer (Monrovia)

26 June 2012

Liberia: U.S. Charge d' Affaires & EU Head of Delegation Pay Courtesy Visits to Foreign Minister Ngafuan

Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan during last week received the United States Charge d' Affaires and a high-level European Union delegation in two separate acquaintance meetings.During Wednesday's meeting with the new US Charge d' Affaires accredited near Monrovia, His Excellency, Michael R. Arietti, Foreign Minister Ngafuan said youth empowerment, peace and security as well as capacity building through technical vocational training are essential priorities of the second term administration of the President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led Government. The ceremony which took place in the Minister's conference room was marked by an exchange of views between Minister Ngafuan and the US Envoy during which time Ambassador Arietti introduced himself as the newly accredited U S Charge d' Affaires to Liberia.

During the courtesy call, the Foreign Minister recounted to the U S Envoy achievements made by government including Liberia's speedy recovery. But he was also quick to disclose that there were still challenges that require foreign assistance. According to a Foreign Ministry release, the Liberian Foreign Minister further assured the newly accredited US Envoy of Liberia's cooperation and full commitment to strengthening US-Liberia relations. He noted that Liberia looks forward to fostering the cordial and long standing ties between both countries and called on the US to help address some of the many challenges. While lauding the US and other partners for the assistance provided the government and people of Liberia during the critical period of the nation's existence, he also briefed the US Envoy on the Liberian-Ivorian border situation.

According to him, Liberia in collaboration with Ivory Coast has taken strong measures aimed at restoring sanity to the troubled region in curtailing the cross-border attacks along the border.The Foreign Minister explained the outcome of the four-party meeting held between Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire, and the two United Nations peacekeeping missions of both countries. He said both governments and the United Nations Mission In Liberia (UNMIL) and United Nations Operations in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI) will help stabilize the region. "Our government wants to see free movement of its citizens as they engage in cross-border trade" Minister Ngafuan further noted.Earlier, the U S Charge d' Affaires who extolled Liberia for the achievements and recovery said his government will work closely with the country in its post conflict drive.

The US envoy praised Minister Ngafuan and Liberia for the laudable initiative to work with neighboring Cote d' Ivoire and the two U N agencies to find an amicable solution to the conflict in the sub- region. Arietti, expressing satisfaction over the political situation, commended Liberia for the proactive role it played in engaging Cote d' Ivoire and the two UN missions to stabilize the troubling situation along the border. Meanwhile, during a separate meeting with the EU delegation Thursday, Minister Ngafuan says as post conflict nation, Liberia will protect its porous borders by not allowing it to be used by foreign mercenaries to destabilize other neighboring countries. Dr. Nick Westcott is the EU's Managing Director for Africa in the European External Action Service (EEAS).

He was accompanied by the EU Ambassador to Liberia, Attilio Pacifici. In brief remarks, the head of EU delegation who lauded Liberia's recovery also hailed the Government under the wise leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for the positive steps taken to work in collaboration with stakeholders in dealing with the troubling situation in the sub-region.The two officials welcomed the peaceful transition of power in the sub region.

The EU Envoy further disclosed plan by his organization to send observers to monitor the forth coming elections in neighboring Sierra Leone later this year as the sub-region embarks on the democratization of the Mano River Union (MRU) basin. Later this year, discussions will begin concerning EU's development assistance to Liberia up to 2020, which will focus on supporting Vision 2030 and Liberia's second Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS), says an EU release.The dispatch says 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 Foreign Minister Ngafuan.

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